Former Congressman Seeks To Elevate The Ozarks
WEST PLAINS, Mo. (AP) -- A former Missouri congressman and state treasurer hopes to reverse decades of poverty and poor education in the southern Ozarks with a new regional approach to economic development.
Wendell Bailey spent one term in Congress and eight years as state treasurer before returning to the Howell County town of Willow Springs. He recently helped form the Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development, or SOAR. The group includes more than 30 business and civic leaders from a 10-county region.
Its priorities include extending high-speed Internet service into the region's rural reaches and luring employers with job-training and vocational programs.
Bailey says it's time for the rest of the state to pay more attention to a region he says is too often dismissed.