Building on Character, Respecting the Environment

By Rep. Heath Schuler
Congressional Representative of
North Carolina’s 11th District

As a native of Western North Carolina and the representative of the 11th Congressional District, I am proud of the shared history and cultural identity of the Appalachian region. From our forbears, we as a people have inherited an appreciation for strong work ethic, entrepreneurship, tightly-knit community networks, and the majestic mountains that we are so blessed to live amongst.

My vision for the future of Appalachia builds upon these characteristics of our people. We will rely on the ingenuity of our small businesses to continue to take advantage of America’s evolving economy. With the extension of production and investment tax credits for renewable energy and the new Administration’s pledge to promote a green economy, the Appalachian region has a phenomenal opportunity to position itself as a leader in developing industries. Our dynamic and flexible workforce can be trained to fill the multitude of jobs that will be created. The scenic beauty and high quality of life associated with our region will continue to draw new businesses and residents.

With the assistance of the Appalachian Regional Commission and successful community development organizations like AdvantageWest in my district, Appalachia will increase its interconnectedness. Improved roads and an expansion of broadband internet will give our communities access to the world, and vice versa. These advances will promote business, education and tourism, allowing Appalachia to stay competitive within the country and around the globe.

As Appalachia progresses into the future, there are elements of its past and present that it must carry with it. The foremost of these is respect for our natural environment. These mountains are our namesake. They have shaped our history and our culture. They are a marvel to view and explore, bringing millions of visitors to our part of the country every year. They are our greatest asset, and will certainly play a critical role in our future success.

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