BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Former West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin was the first guest speaker for 2023 at Beckley Rotary Club.

Manchin, who now co-chairs the federal Appalachian Regional Commission, which aims to bring equality between the 13 Appalachian states and the rest of the country.

She told Rotarians that connectivity can help bring needed services like telemedicine and online business to West Virginia.

“One of the things we have found in traveling through the Appalachian region is the lack of broadband throughout, particularly to that last mile, in our most rural areas,” said Manchin.

Manchin said grants which are available for coal-impacted communities and those in recovery from substance use disorder could help southern West Virginia.