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Academic chosen to lead rural economic development

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- An academic with economic development experience will be the North Carolina's new Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development.

Patricia Mitchell will oversee the Commerce Department's newly created Rural Economic Development Division. The division consists of programs transferred from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, the Division of Community Assistance, NC Broadband, Main Street and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Mitchell is an adjunct faculty member at three universities and was County Manager and Director of Economic Development for Ashe County. She also served on the Rural Economic Development Center's board for seven years and helped transition three of the center's programs to the Department of Commerce.

She also serves on the N.C. Economic Developers Association Board of Directors and the Local Developers Advisory Council for the AdvantageWest Regional Economic Development Group.