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R5DC Testifies at Economic Development Hearing Before Congress

Pictured left to right: Jamie McCormick, Mirielle Burgoyne, NADO Staff; Cheryal Lee Hills, R5DC, and Levon Johnson, Mr. Levon Johnson, President and CEO, Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.

Cheryal Lee Hills, Executive Director of Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) and representative of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), testified before Congress on Wednesday May 11, 2022. The U.S. House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth hosted the hearing, “Bringing Prosperity to Left-Behind Communities: Using Targeted Place-based Development to Expand Economic Opportunity.” Select Committee Members and policy experts had an opportunity to examine how wealth disparities in local economies have increased – including in rural towns, industrial centers, and urban neighborhoods– and how targeted, place-based initiatives can restore local economies and bring jobs to economically vulnerable regions.

As a federally recognized Economic Development District, R5DC develops and maintains the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region. CEDS is an intentional equitable economic pathway designed by diverse voices. “It is imperative to invest in local practitioners who emphasize equity and inclusion in their approaches to community development. We measure success of projects and programs based on improved livelihoods and ownership for those living on the margins of our economy,” Hills testified during the hearing on local economic development.

“In her testimony, Cheryal Lee Hills not only represented the needs of her region; she also represented the needs and interests of hundreds of other NADO members across the country. Cheryal was the perfect person to speak about how federal funding and programs can be better targeted to benefit rural and underserved communities in more equitable and impactful ways,” said Joe McKinney, Executive Director of NADO.

This hearing explored targeted, place-based policies to restore local economies & uplift underserved communities. To watch the hearing, please visit:

Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) is a high-performing, regionally focused partner providing community development, economic development, and transportation initiatives in central Minnesota. R5DC programs are strategic and resilient in nature, and contain an inclusive and collaborative approach, with an emphasis on local foods/agricultural and renewable energy economy. Visit to learn more.

About NADO The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) is a 501c4 membership association that represents the interests of regional community development and economic development practitioners. Established in 1967, NADO advocates for federal policies and programs that promote equitable community development, economic competitiveness, rural development, economic mobility, and quality of place. NADO represents a national network of more than 500 Regional Development Organizations (RDOs) across the country.


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