Two locals named to state committee

By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
Two Russellville residents will join a panel of 15 to serve on a statewide commission created by Gov. Bob Riley to improve the quality of life in rural Alabama.
Jerry Groce and Margaret Lovett will serve as co-chairs of the education and health committees.
The members, who come from a variety of backgrounds and work experience, were appointed to represent Region 1 of the Alabama Rural Action Commission. The region, comprised of 13 north Alabama counties, is one of eight that make up the commission.
"I'm excited about the potential this task force has in making a difference for the area," Groce said. "Rural counties face different challenges than the larger counties and cities. What this committee lets us do is to talk about our strengths in facing these challenges."
TF was way to develop unique strategies for those areas.
Riley unveiled the rural commission and announced volunteer members earlier this month. The rural commission is designed after the Alabama Black Belt Action Commission, which was created in 2004 to improve living standards in 13 Alabama counties.
The commission now has more than 800 volunteers working together to improve health, education, and living standards in 12 south Alabama counties commonly referred to as the Black Belt because of its dark soil.
"I am excited about taking the model of the Black Belt Action Commission statewide," Riley said. "We have put in place a strong group of leaders who will help to involve local citizens and to build the partnerships needed to bring more progress to our rural communities."
The Rural Action Commission will begin by focusing on measurably improving health care, education, economic development and workforce development in rural areas, said former state Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville, who is serving as executive director.
"We're looking to hear from elected officials on how we can work together to better develop the region and provide employment and educational opportunities as we go into 21st century," Groce added.

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