It will not be surprising if I tell you the state of our local economy is less than ideal. What may surprise you is the fact that regions such as western Kentucky are the regions by which our entire nation succeeds or fails. Whether we like it or not, we are a prime example of a region of the United States that depends upon keeping citizens out of the lower class and in the middle class.
Paducah has been known as "The Atomic City" and regularly recognized as a convergence of railroads and rivers. Our region has historically employed a great number of our fellow residents with consistent and honest, skilled labor. We are the inland barge capital of the United States. Our neighbor, Marshall County, still provides a substantial number of consistently well-paying jobs at a variety of industrial factories and plants. These workers typically have health care through their employers. We have one of the best community and technical colleges in the nation and Murray State University. We are a hard-working and reliable people.
The fact that we import far more goods than we export means the world does not demand our goods. The United States has been the world's greatest example of capitalism and production because we have invested our workforce in the best markets and benefited from a dedicated citizenry.
Regions like western Kentucky are an example of an area fertile for a strong middle class. Here we possess a dedicated workforce representative of our nation. We have numerous institutions of higher learning, we have inexpensive land, we have business-friendly environmental regulations and a large workforce ready for jobs. Western Kentucky has all the assets to make us appealing to foreign investment; we just need someone in government to make it happen.
MATTHEW P. SCHULTZ