At the annual meeting of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA) in DC last week, Essex Heritage’s own CEO Annie Harris was elected as the new ANHA Chair!  Our busy CEO has served as the Vice Chair for the past four years so she wasn’t entirely surprised.  She grinned when she said “I’m committed to the success of all 49 National Heritage Areas across our country and participating in the Alliance is a great way to do this. I just wish that I could add a few more hours to every day.”

The Alliance also held a very successful and well-attended congressional reception on Capitol Hill.  The co-chairmen of the Congressional Caucus for the National Heritage Areas –Congressman Charles Dent (R-PA) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) — gave strong talks in support of the National Heritage Areas and spoke passionately about the impact that these Areas have had in their legislative districts. Ms. Harris also addressed the 100+ attendees in first duty as the Chair and remarked on the most recent independent Economic Impact Study by Tripp Umbach which measured that the NHAs directly and indirectly generated $12.9 billion to support their regional economies and created and supported 148,000 jobs.

ANHA In/Outgoing Chairs

In addition to Ms. Harris’s election, the Alliance elected Sara Capen of Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, NY, to be Vice Chair, Charles Flynn of Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, AZ, to continue as Treasurer, and Julie McPike of Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, KS, along with eighteen of NHA executive directors to the ANHA Board of Directors.  “It’s a great group of NHA leaders to be working with,” said Ms. Harris, “And each of them is doing such remarkable projects in their areas.”