Morning Newsletter

Let's cast a wider net

The Courier-Journal editorial

From its inception, the notion of the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM) has seemed like an excellent idea. Forging stronger ties between Louisville and Lexington to advance the entire region makes sense economically, geographically and socially.

The initiative, which was announced earlier this year by Mayors Greg Fischer of Louisville and Jim Gray of Lexington, both experienced businessmen and entrepreneurs, has strong support from the Brookings Institution, the national think tank that did a landmark study of Louisville's city-county merger nearly a decade ago. The goal is to examine efforts our two cities make to see if the experience here can be replicated elsewhere.

What's more, the two mayors were smart to tap Lexington businessman Jim Host, a prominent Republican who specializes in building consensus to achieve results, as chairman. Host deserves more credit than anyone else for building Louisville's arena in the midst of the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression. The KFC Yum! Center is transforming Main Street and the surrounding areas. What is more, Host is respected by Democrats, bucking the national trend toward partisan impasse.

What didn't seem clear from the composition of the new board is whether the group will embrace youth and diversity, two critical elements for future vitality in our cities. As its agenda begins to shape up, we hope that BEAM will shine its light across a far wider array of talent.

After all, those are priorities of the Fischer and Gray administrations in other respects.

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