By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
Gov. John Kasich announced Nov. 21 the appointment of State Sen. Jason Wilson as the next director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia.
“I started the position on the 21st and started at 8:30 a.m. and my first appointment was at 9 a.m. so I have not wasted any time,” Wilson said.
Wilson said because of redistricting, the area he represented was being cut up, which would not allow him to maintain his district. He would have had to move and said he and his family decided it was in their best interest not to move.
“About that time the governor’s office called about a possible appointment,” Wilson said.
Wilson said if he could have created a position for himself, this would have been it.
He said budgetary concerns at the state and federal levels are two important challenges facing his new office.
“One of the biggest projects we are going to be working on is the Piketon project (American Centrifuge Plant). We need to be making sure we’re getting the federal attention we need. We need to make sure we are all pushing in the right areas,” Wilson said. “That project will have a significant impact on the area for a long time in that part of Ohio.”
Wilson said he will be in Washington, D.C., on Monday and Tuesday, and he will bring up the A Plant while there.
“This is certainly an issue I want to bring up and be as knowledgeable as possible,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he is scheduled to be in the Piketon area in the next couple of weeks.
“While there I want to meet with the bankers of the area. I want to find out what they are doing to be a part of this process.” Wilson said. “What can they do to support some of the industries that support Piketon. What can we do to encourage investment in this area.”
Wilson said his goal as the director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, as it was while in the State Senate, is to shed some light on parts of forgotten Ohio,” Wilson said.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the Office of Appalachia will focus aggressively on economic development and workforce development in Washington, D.C., to promote the region’s assets and support local, regional, state and federal initiatives.”