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About Us

We change people's lives.

The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life for the citizens we serve. The Center also aspires to be the nationally recognized model for successful rural development.

The Center’s programs and services center around four Focus Areas: Public Safety, Arts & Culture, Leadership, and Technology. The Center also boasts a state-of-the-art meeting and convention facility.

While The Center’s programs largely serve residents in a 45-county primary service area in Southern and Eastern Kentucky, we are committed to constantly expanding our capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation. TESTS

Congressman Hal Rogers

The Center for Rural Development was created in 1996 through the vision of U.S Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) and other leaders to be a state and national model for economic development.

Serving Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981, Hal Rogers has been elected to 20 consecutive terms representing the people of Southern and Eastern Kentucky and is the longest serving Kentucky Republican ever elected to federal office.  Focused on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drug use and preserving the natural treasures of Appalachia, Rogers has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the interests of the region where he was raised.

Born in rural Kentucky and representing one of the poorest Congressional Districts in the nation, Rogers’ vision for a stronger region spurred some of the greatest success stories in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.  Organizations such as The Center for Rural Development, Eastern Kentucky PRIDEOperation UNITE, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development (SKED), and Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) have brought local communities together by revitalizing the environment, providing hope in the fight against drugs, building small businesses, and creating jobs by increasing tourism in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Congressmen Hal Rogers

Nationally, as Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee from 2011 to 2016, he reduced the size and scope of government by reining in federal spending, conducting rigorous but thoughtful oversight of federal agencies, and restoring fiscal discipline and transparency to our budget process. Rogers led the Congress to reduce discretionary spending by a historic amount, cutting $126 billion in discretionary spending since 2010. During his tenure, Chairman Rogers led the way for regular order, conducting 650 oversight hearings and considering more than 2,000 amendments to appropriations bills on the floor.

With nearly 40 years of experience on the Appropriations Committee, he has served on more than ten different subcommittees, including leadership roles as Chairman or Ranking Member of five. Notably, Rogers was tapped in 2003 to lead the first Subcommittee on Homeland Security. Through this important role, Rogers fought to ensure our first responders received necessary funds to protect against terrorist threats; demanded tough answers from FEMA in the wake of federal responses to wildfires, hurricanes and flash floods; and insisted on enforcement of our country’s immigration laws and stronger border security.

Whether Rogers is on Capitol Hill ensuring the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars, fighting to secure the homeland, scrutinizing federal government agencies, or home in Southern and Eastern Kentucky working to make a difference in the lives of the individuals he represents, Rogers remains committed to being a strong voice in Congress for fiscal responsibility, economic development, a strong national defense, and a prosperous future for America.

For more information about Congressman Rogers, please visit