Gov. Cooper launches ‘Hometown Strong’ to support rural communities in NC

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Governor Cooper has announced a new initiative to partner with local governments to support local economies, improve infrastructure and strengthen rural communities.

According to a release, the Hometown Strong initiative will work with local leaders to help businesses thrive in rural North Carolina by focusing on projects such as infrastructure improvements, broadband access and workforce training.

“Small communities like the one I grew up in have a special character and so much to offer. They deserve a real partner in state government and a chance to thrive,” Gov. Cooper said. “That’s Hometown Strong.”

Through partnerships with local leaders from government, businesses, non-profit organizations and more, Hometown Strong will help leverage state and local resources to complete local development projects, start conversations between state and local agencies and identify long-term projects in rural communities.

“Helping rural North Carolina thrive is one of my top priorities,” Gov. Cooper said. “Families in rural communities aren’t looking for mandates from Raleigh – they want state government to listen and help when asked. We’ll listen to local leaders to make sure they’re getting the support they need to help their communities prosper.”

Gov. Cooper has appointed Pryor Gibson and Mary Penny Kelley to lead Hometown Strong.

Gibson is a former member of the North Carolina General Assembly who represented House District 96, which includes Anson, Montgomery, and Union counties. He also served as executive vice president of the North Carolina Forestry Association and as senior adviser for governmental affairs for Governor Bev Perdue. He is a Wadesboro native.

Kelley formerly served as senior adviser for policy and innovation at the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, where she had also served as an executive attorney for nearly a decade. Additionally, she served as an Assistant Attorney General within the North Carolina Department of Justice and as an attorney in private practice. Kelley is a resident of Spring Hope.

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