President Donald Trump intends to nominate a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's staff as the new federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The White House said Thursday in a news release that the president intends to nominate Tim Thomas to oversee the ARC. Thomas works as a McConnell staff member in Kentucky. He previously worked in former Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration.
The agency seeks to create jobs in 420 counties across 13 states, including the West Virginia and Kentucky coalfields.
McConnell on Friday praised Trump's selection. He said "with the right leadership" the ARC will continue benefiting Appalachian communities.
McConnell has resisted Trump's efforts to shutter the agency. The senator is sponsoring a bill that would move ARC's headquarters from Washington to the Appalachian region.