If America had a monarchy instead of a democracy, Ivanka Trump surely would be our crown princess.
The beautiful, charming daughter of President Donald Trump made a whirlwind tour last week of workforce development programs in East Kentucky.
Morehead State University’s Space Science Center was her final stop where the First Daughter hailed the region’s “booming” economy and praised Gov. Matt Bevin for diversifying economic opportunity.
She obviously made a positive impression on the politicians and others who escorted her at each location. Her comments about the beauty and hospitality of our region were appreciated.
But someone along the way at an advanced manufacturing training center in Paintsville or Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg apparently forgot to explain to her that the region’s well-intentioned efforts to create new jobs have yet to bear fruit.
East Kentucky continues to struggle with the loss of nearly 11,000 coal jobs since 2011 and a decline in per capita income to less than half the national average which exceeds $40,000.
At a time of record low unemployment in the country and most of Kentucky, we still have jobless rates of 11.3 percent in Magoffin County, 8.2 percent in Carter County, and 7.8 percent in Elliott County. The current statewide rate is 4.3 percent.
We understand why Ivanka made those laudatory statements about her father and the impact of federal tax cuts, deregulation and a “climate of optimism” for economic growth in America.
But that optimism for a better economic future has yet to impact a significant number of the jobless workers from coal mining and related businesses.
For example, the former miners completing those high-tech programs in Paintsville most likely will have to leave the region to find jobs. Hopefully, the technicians being trained there eventually will help attract industries in need of skilled workers.
Closer to home, the proposed $1.5 billion aluminum plant near Ashland still needs at least a half-billion dollars in financing before construction starts.
In our opinion, Ivanka’s visit was more about helping the governor in his reelection efforts next year and in helping her father keep Republicans in office in Washington in the upcoming midterm elections.