Gov. celebrates new beginnings, state’s economy with locally-owned businesses

MONTGOMERY CO., Kan. (WIBW) – Governor Laura Kelly has celebrated new beginnings and the state’s economy with a tour of several locally-owned businesses in Southeast Kansas.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says on Friday, June 17, she celebrated new beginnings for rural economic development during a several-stop tour to Southeast Kansas.

First, Gov. Kelly said she traveled to Cherryvale to break ground on Bartlett Grain’s new $390 million soybean processing facility which will create 50 high-quality jobs for residents.

“Bartlett Grain invested $390 million into building a new soybean processing facility because they believe their future in Cherryvale, Kansas, is bright,” Kelly said. “They’re right. Kansas’ agriculture industry is modernizing, and the soybeans processed at this plant will be used for a new type of renewable diesel fuel. Barlett is investing in a proof point for what our state can offer businesses involved in renewable energy.”

Then, Kelly said she toured Indy Brew Works – a family-owned brewery in Independence where she discussed the work the state has done to help small businesses with owners, economic development leaders and city officials.

“When I took office, I brought back the Kansas Main Street Program to help cities access technical services, networking, and training opportunities to restore their historic downtown districts,” said Kelly. “Independence is a Main Street community, and it was a pleasure meeting with local small business leaders today to see how Main Street has succeeded – and to hear how my Administration can build on its support for businesses in smaller towns.”

The Governor said she ended her visit with a grand opening celebration of a facility that will house the Office of Rural Prosperity. She said the ORP, created during her tenure and housed within the Department of Commerce, was born out of a listening tour where her Administration heard from rural community leaders.

Kelly noted that the ORP has helped local leaders become champions for their communities by providing grant funding for housing, infrastructure, main street and cultural activities.

“We created the Office of Rural Prosperity so that our rural communities would know that their concerns and issues were being heard and that decisions were being made with their interests in mind,” Kelly said. “From this new Independence location, the Office will continue its work to bring new investment and jobs to rural Kansas.”

Since the beginning of her tenure, Gov. Kelly said there have been more than 650 economic development projects worth nearly $9 billion of investment in the state’s economy. She said these investments have created and retained more than 43,000 jobs.

Beyond the rebirth of the Main Street program, Kelly said her Administration recently supported small businesses with the passage of bipartisan House Bill 2136, which invested $50 million to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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