residents of [Kentucky's] 5th Congressional District have the shortest average life expectancy of those of any congressional district in the country.My home of Morehead is in Kentucky's 5th Congressional district and it's easy to see where it's true. It's very difficult to tell the age of a lot of people I meet or people I see in Walmart. Even people in their 20's can have a broken down look that makes you wonder if they're in their forties or fifties. Likewise, Mrs. RSI and I have met women in their early forties who see themselves as more elderly than my 73 year old mother and dress accordingly.
The Herald-Leader implies that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Hal Rogers bear considerable responsibility for the pervasive poverty that results in low life expectancies. They're not totally wrong. As Republicans, McConnell and Rogers are attached to the small government perspective that results in fewer federal programs and less federal money coming into the region. There isn't that much private investment in the region. So, the lack of federal money really hurts.
But, it is also fair to note that Hal Rogers has been active on economic development issues during his tenure in Congress. The Forward in the Fifth program, Center for Rural Development, Pride Program, and Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA) have all been worthy efforts even though they haven't resulted in structural economic change.