El Campo will have, not only a seat, but the top leadership role in an association dedicated to ensuring smaller communities have a voice in government.

City Development Corporation Executive Director Carolyn Gibson has been named the new president ARCIT, or the Association of Rural Communities in Texas, replacing Judge Mike Sutherland.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected to serve as president of board of directors,” Gibson said. “I have been a member of ARCIT for over 15 years and know for a fact the organization represents the very best Texas has to offer.”

“The most important facet of membership in ARCIT to me is the respect and attention ARCIT has garnered for those of us working on the frontlines in rural Texas. ARCIT is the information super highway for the small, rural communities and counties across the state who don’t always have the budget or staff to monitor all the decisions made at the state and federal levels that affect us locally,” she added.

Judge Richard Cordes of Menard and Marty Mangum of Vernon are both vice presidents of ARCIT.

“I have some pretty big boots to fill following immediate past Board President Judge Mike Sutherland, but pledge to do my very best ... we will continue to encourage growth in ARCIT’s membership and sponsors, increasing our voice across Texas. And most importantly, to talk about El Campo every opportunity I get,” she said.

ARCIT works to ensure that rural communities are a part of the conversation when lawmakers are looking to make decisions.

“Carolyn will be an integral part of leading ARCIT with the help of the board of directors,” ARCIT Executive Director Kara Mayfield told the Leader-News. “ARCIT is the only association which focuses solely on rural communities and provides educational events for rural members as well as sharing best practices, working with rural leaders in the public and private sector, and shares information on policy impacting rural communities.”

The organization is made up of representatives from rural counties, cities, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies and other private partners.

“One of the newest levels of involvement ARCIT has is our Private Community Partners (PCP) ... businesses supporting rural and smaller communities, and the issues impacting those communities,” Gibson said, adding The First State Bank of Louise was the first.

The board will hold its annual conference Sept. 24 to 26 in Georgetown.

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