During the Interim Joint committee meeting on Economic Development, Luther Deaton, Chairman, President, and CEO of Central Bank & Trust Company and a former chair of the Kentucky Chamber’s board of directors, emphasized the value and hard work of the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership Board. He currently serves as vice chairman of the partnership board.
He testified to committee members that the board has always worked with the facts in a non-political way while also telling the committee that Kentucky needs more funding for economic development. Deaton, a longtime leader in the Kentucky business community, stated that Kentucky needs more investment in education as well.
Deaton was joined by Acting Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Erik Dunnigan, who serves as an ex-officio member of the Chamber’s board of directors. Dunnigan presented an update to the committee about the condition of Kentucky’s economy.
Dunnigan expressed the need to address Kentucky’s challenges that impede economic growth including degraded infrastructure, workforce limitations, and the fact that Kentucky is not a right to work state.
“We don’t know what we are missing,” stated Dunnigan in referring to companies that don’t even consider Kentucky because it is not a right-to-work state.
Dunnigan and Deaton also talked about regional challenges in Kentucky. Deaton is from eastern Kentucky and is concerned about the lack of development opportunities there.
“East Kentucky is in serious trouble. East Kentucky can be turned around but we have to have the roads to get there, the technology to get there,” said Deaton.