With the governor’s seat up for grabs in 2023, Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Deters has his sights set on the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Deters said there is a special place in his heart for the region of Eastern Kentucky, as his family roots can be traced back to Harlan County.

It is time to bring the mountains into the spotlight, Deters said, and he isn’t worried about offending other regions in the state by doing so.

“I’m not a career politician, I’m different,” said Deters. “And to my knowledge, I’m the only candidate running for governor with mountain blood.”

Deters said he has consulted with many Eastern Kentuckians about what the region needs and the feedback he keeps getting is that it is high time Eastern Kentucky gets their proper share of state and tourism dollars.

“I’m all about that,” he said. “Eastern Kentucky has been neglected over and over again … and I really want to bring in good jobs.”

Deters said he is ready to work with local officials to bring manufacturing plants to the mountains.

“You’ve got a good labor force here,” said Deters. “Don’t take jobs to other countries or states, let’s do it here in Eastern Kentucky.”

Existing businesses wouldn’t be neglected either, Deters said; He wants to help them grow and expand.

Deters said he has big ideas to help the economy in Eastern Kentucky, and a lot of them involve tourism.

“I’ve always been blown away by the beauty of the mountains,” said Deters.

He said he wants to share that beauty by creating a holiday tourist destination in the mountains.

“People say to think outside the box,” he said. “Well, I create a whole new box.”

Creating a “winter wonderland” where folks could come to enjoy snowboarding and tubing during the winter, as well as hiking and sight-seeing during the other seasons, is just one idea Deters has to bring tourism to the mountains, he said.

“How cool would it be to find a place in Eastern Kentucky where we create the North Pole,” said Deters. “Just create an incredible tourist attraction regionally.”

The ripple effect of constructing a tourist destination would be endless, Deters said.

“You would bring jobs constructing it, bring jobs to run it,” he said. “You’d have hotels being built, restaurants being built and road improvements.”

According to Deters, bringing jobs to the region would also help combat the raging opioid epidemic.

“You have to give people hope,” said Deters. “When people lose hope and the only way they can make money is to sell narcotics, they’re going to sell narcotics.”

Deters said he will fight the opioid epidemic “tooth and nail.”

“We’ve got to crack down on it,” he said. “But we’ve got to give people good options.”

Deters said his mind is wide open to any ideas the people of the region may have, as well.

Transparency, communication and availability are important, Deters said, and he wants every Kentuckian to feel heard.

“I want every Kentuckian to have my cell phone number,” said Deters. “They can text me and I will respond every single time.”

To contact Deters, text or call, (859) 250-2527.