Judge-Executive Curtis Dame has joined the new West Kentucky Coalition to represent McLean County.

The coalition was created to give Western Kentucky “a cohesive voice,” according to Dame, and plans to focus on four to five binding issues in the western part of the state.

“This allows networking with other sister cities and counties that have the same issues,” he said. “Sometimes these issues that we face aren’t just specific to the area development district that we’re in.”

Dame said some significant issues McLean County is facing are the decline in coal, lack of new industries and lack of high speed broadband internet.

“In order to address these problems long-term, you have to do so as a group because you have a louder voice,” he said.

Dame was selected by Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield to serve on the coalition. Dame is also a member of the executive committee within the coalition to represent the Green River Area Development District.

“I don’t see any negatives by being in this organization. I only see positives for McLean County,” he said.

The issues the coalition decides to tackle are based on what avenues there are to chase them and what interest there is from state legislature and state representatives.

Mayors within McLean County are also part of this streamline, according to Dame.

“If you have an issue related to the city or if you’re interested in what’s going on, contact your mayor,” he said.

The four legislative priorities the coalition is focusing on this year are equitable distribution of Joint Funding Administration monies to West Kentucky area development district; completion of I-69, its spurs and its Ohio River bridge; protecting the viability of Ellis Park, Oak Grove Racing and West Kentucky horse farms; and creating more efficient, less-expensive methods to get law enforcement recruits properly certified.

The coalition is also working on solutions to these issues.

“The coalition was created to more effectively express the needs and desires of communities in West Kentucky,” said Whitfield. “Our group was formed early (last) fall, so the Legislative Affairs Committee and the board didn’t have much time to research and settle on items of regional interest to present to our area’s legislators. But these four issues had the strong support of the board and would certainly help West Kentucky if they can be addressed. We also plan to send these priorities to all the members of the General Assembly to help them understand, and hopefully support, our priorities.”

Other officers include Carlisle County Judge-Executive and Vice Chairman Greg Terry and Hartford Mayor and Secretary-Treasurer George Chinn.

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