INDEPENDENCE, Kans. — Since her administration began, a focus of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has been economic development in rural communities.

Friday afternoon, she traveled to Southeast Kansas to see those same communities in action.

“Mostly it’s just tapping into local-grown talent and just helping, guiding, supporting them as they create and innovate in their own communities,” said Gov. Laura Kelly, (D) Kansas.

It’s part of the reason she made her way to Montgomery County.

She started off visiting the groundbreaking of a new $390 million soybean processing facility in Cherryvale.

“50 new jobs coming into the area. I think it’s the largest single capital investment in Montgomery County ever and it’s the second-largest investment that we captured in 2021,” said Gov. Kelly.

From there, the day began to focus on small business. Governor Kelly traveled to Independence to see her administration’s work to help rural communities prosper during the pandemic.

“We also turned around some grant money to bring into our small businesses to help tide them through that, get them the PPE and other items they needed,” said Gov. Kelly.

One of those businesses that benefitted was Indy Brew Works which had to close temporarily 4 months after it opened.

“There were a lot of breweries that shut down permanently during COVID and we were just starting out. We were very worried. We received a grant during COVID that allowed us to purchase a small canning machine to help us get more beer out the door, and it wasn’t a one-time injection. It created something that allowed us to continue to build our business,” said Robert Box, Indy Brew Works Co-Owner.

A trend Governor Kelly hopes to continue with the grand opening of the new Independence facility for the Office of Rural Prosperity.

“In Kansas, something like 99% of our businesses are small businesses. We’re ahead of the national average, that’s what we do. That’s why my administration has been so focused on small business because, it’s Kansas,” said Gov. Kelly.