Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance, Traverse Connect “Excited” for New Office of Rural Development

Sarah LucasThe newly formed Office of Rural Development announced Sarah Lucas as their Deputy Director earlier this week. Lucas is apart of the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance and is the CEO of Lake Superior Community Partnership.

The Director of Government Relations for Traverse Connect and the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance, Henry Wolf, says he’s excited for Lucas and the new office.

“I can’t think of a smarter, more hardworking person that will work hard for Northern Michigan than Sarah Lucas,” Wolf says.

The Office of Rural Development aims to help people in rural communities with common issues including, housing and employment efforts. Wolf says he hopes the office will serve as a focal point in the state government. He says he hopes it works as an advocate for needs in rural communities.

“We have a lot of the same initiative that we’re hopeful the Office of rural Development can help out with,” Wolf states. “Namely working on things like obtainable housing, workforce developmentBenzie and talent attraction. Those are all huge barriers to growth for businesses here in Northern Michigan,” Wolf says.

While local initiatives like Traverse Connect and the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance have helped identify key issues, it will be up to the Office of Rural Development to solve those issues. Wolf says they’re thankful that one of the members from the Chamber Alliance was selected.

“We’re thankful to have somebody who understands the barriers businesses are facing. And knows what we need to focus on and help move them forward,” Wolf says.

Lucas takes over as Deputy Director for the Office of Rural Development April 18.