Why move to Appalachia?

01/25/2022

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This week, we discuss what compels non-native people to move to Appalachia.

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Chuck Corra: Ladies, gentlemen, gender non-binary folks in Appalachia and worldwide. This is Appodlachia. Thank you so much for joining us. Appalachian natives, ex-pats, or just sympathizers looking for a good time. Thank you for lending us, your earholes today. Appreciate it. We’ve got a good one for you today, John, but I think to get started, I wanted to let you know expressing some solidarity here.

The ceremonial burning of the Carhartt jacket

I did burn my Carhartt jacket. I did set it on fire. Because these companies, these woke companies like Carhartt, the working outfit, working outfit, brand working clothes brands. Certainly not a Gucci, a woke company. Carhartt said that they were going to mandate that their employees get vaccines, which listen, it’s one thing to control a woman’s body, but when they start controlling an employee’s body, that’s where I have to morally draw the line.

Big John Isner: It makes total sense. Look, but I do want to make a public announcement show. I think we need to do this. I, I don’t like, I don’t want people to waste perfectly good fires. Okay. By burning they’re worthless, you know, this, this awful Carhartt. I don’t want them to waste a perfectly good fire. So instead I want if you’re going to burn it, pick it up, put it in a box.

I want you to mail it. Okay. Let’s really own the libs. Okay. Really own them right here. Right now. PO box 2466, Parkersburg West Virginia, 26102. We will personally make sure. But that Carhartt’s taken 

Chuck Corra: care of you. Yeah. We’re so good at bonfires. And as you know, fires, they’re finite. It’s not like it replicates itself when it hits more flammable objects.

I mean, it’s gone once it’s gone. It’s gone. It’s like oil 

Big John Isner: Wasted. Yeah, don’t waste it. Just say and save yourself the hassle of starting the fire, tending to the fire, putting the fire out. Okay. PO box 2466 Parkersburg West Virginia, 26102. Just go ahead and send it. 

Chuck Corra: We’ll dispose of that. The garbage product for you, because we would not want our listeners to be.

Representing an un-American company. Like absolutely not.

The half-bathroom is a symbol of class status

So there’s one thing I wanted to mention to you before we kind of get rolling into the actual thing, which is if you watched a show on HBO, Euphoria?

Big John: I have not.

Chuck Corra: Okay, well, it’s not entirely relevant, but lots of people are saying that it’s super relatable, which I laughed at first because when I started watching it, my impression of it was it’s about high schoolers that just get absolutely blitzed out of their mind on, on psychedelic drugs and doing rails of coke in the bathroom before the fifth period and fucking like they’re trying to repopulate post-apocalyptic earth, which was not exactly relatable to my experience of growing up in Parkersburg initially.

But then one of the characters mentioned that they only had one bathroom in their house and boom, immediately relatable to me because you grew up with a one-bathroom house, right? 

Big John Isner: Oh, I grew up with a bathroom that was barely one bathroom. 

Chuck Corra: Yup. Yup. See very relatable doing lines of coke in the bathroom.

Not quite as much, at least for me, at least for me. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. I can’t relate to that part, but I can relate to the one bathroom thing. And there were growing up, we had a force, you know, there were four kids and my mom, one bathroom, everybody trying to get ready. I mean, it was incredible that we all finished school, to be honest with you.

Chuck Corra: Yeah. I am with you and in fact, my sister missed the bus almost every single day of high school. So if my parents had not been able to take her, she would have not. 

Big John Isner: We have, we had one bathroom growing up and I could still remember my mom’s boyfriend, significant other, whatever you want to call him.

Paul. One day there was a water pipe underneath the bathroom and it completely broke. Right. And. Paul was a very handy guy. Like he could fix stuff, but the way that he would fix stuff was like quick and fast and cheap. And it wasn’t like putting things back, you know, how they probably should be sometimes which don’t get me wrong, very thankful for all his help.

But if you go in my mom’s bathroom still, like the floor is still all screwed up because we just had to get a floor in as quickly as possible. There’s like drywall. That doesn’t match anything else because we just had to get a new wall up, like, cause we were poor. We didn’t have any money to fix everything.

Do you know? So half the time we were like going and buying, I kid you not I didn’t even know at the time that they had clear and strong. Like they would put random pieces on, on clearance and we would just buy the random pieces to use. Cause that’s what we could afford. The funny part is with all the stuff that happened with that bathroom growing up, the worst thing that happened.

Okay. Going back to Paul, he w he was actually fixing the tub. We had to put a new tub in. And again, if you go look like the windows covered up, because it’s like one of those, like. What do they call them? Like, they’re like fitted bathtubs. Like they come with the plastic around them, like the wall, 

Chuck Corra: the things you always see the model of and malls and stuff.

Big John Isner: Right. We bought one of those on, we bought a thing of it on clearance, right? Thinking that we could just take that thing off. And we couldn’t, it was attached to the battleship. The actual bathtub is fucked up. Right. And we didn’t, we didn’t have any tools to cut it. So still to this day, it is pushed up against the wall, covering my mom’s bathroom window.

It is the janky a shit. And people often ask like, John, why do you want an iPod latch, latching and make a bunch of money? And it’s literally, so I could just fix that bathroom. Like none of it will go to me. It will go to fixing that one day.

Chuck Corra: That’s why we have a Patreon. It’s the bathtub fund. 

Big John Isner: That’s it. It’s my mom’s.

It’s not in my bathtub. 

Chuck Corra: All right. I know that we’ve kind of gone off on a tangent here, but I have one more point to bring up. And this is kind of like building to the point, the combination here, and I know that you’re going to relate to this. The ultimate sign of luxury growing up was if you had a half bath, because, and let me just say, I didn’t know they existed until I saw it at a friend’s house once I didn’t even, I thought it was a joke.

Big John Isner: I didn’t know it until I accidentally walked into one at my buddy’s house. 

Chuck Corra: That’s how we all find out.

Big John Isner: Yeah. I thought it was because I could still remember it because it’s still blowing my mind. Unfortunately, I don’t know if you know this guy, but he passed away, unfortunately, but I can still remember going to his house all the time.

He lived up the road from me and one day he was. Hey, you could put your boots and your coat in the closet. And I was like, oh, okay, great. You know, I’ll walk over to this door. It’s a whole half bath. I’m like, what is this? Like, where is the shower? Like, I, you know, I turned around, I said, man, I thought my bathroom was shitty.

At least I got a bathtub that covers a window. I mean, that works at least, but. It turns out he had like three and that half one, two. 

Chuck Corra: Absolutely. Absolutely. The half bath is a class dynamic. It’s a class struggle. This is the boars Waze versus the proletariat, the bath and versus the half Beth’s. All right.

And look, I’m not knocking half baths. I have one now and it’s fucking awesome. But I use, I thought that it was a joke when somebody first told me about a half back. Cause I had no idea about them growing up and I was like half bath. Like, what are you talking about? There’s no half anything. You don’t have a half bedroom or a half living room or a half kitchen.

Like what are you going to go do? Go to your half stove, sleep on my half bed. It makes no sense. Yeah. 

Big John Isner: It’s funny. You mentioned that there were two things, sorry. Three things growing up that when I looked at a house, I thought you had money and it was stairs because I always thought multiple floors met like more money.

Multiple bathrooms and a garage. Those were the three things that I was like if you have these, you, why are you in Parkersburg? Because you’re a multimillionaire, 

Chuck Corra: you might as well be living on sunset Boulevard with that, that kind of the kind of 

Big John Isner: bread. Yeah. That’s why when we bought my house or we bought the house, it was like, it has a garage, it has two bathrooms and it has multiple floors.

And I, as soon as we moved in, we finally made it. We finally made it but turns out it’s not true at all. And I can promise you that from my bank account.

Right. 

Chuck Corra: Goddamn. Right. Well, I have a half bath now and I feel like a king. 

Big John Isner: I don’t have one. I don’t have a half bath. I only have the two, like one on the second one on the third floor. But we have been thinking about maybe taking out one of the closets on the first floor, putting in a half bath.

Oh, 

Chuck Corra: well just, just be prepared when you get that half bath in there, you’re going to have all your friends and family come groveling. Like, look at this, look at this king. Look at this royalty with his half bath. So just prepare yourself. 

Big John Isner: I know people are going to, I’m going to have, I’m going to have relatives I’ve never heard of coming out of the woodwork.

Why do people move to Appalachia?

Chuck Corra: We asked you all for people who have moved to Appalachia who were not from here, what got you to move to the region?

And one of the reasons why we wanted to ask that as well. Appalachia more so than probably any other region of the country suffers from brain drain. It suffers from a population loss. And you know, there’s a lot of reasons for that. But something to look at is why people are moving here and by maybe gathering some information on why people move here, we can sort of inferring what are the good things that we can keep doing or what we should be doing to draw more people here.

 Or at the very least, it’s an interesting thought discussion with a bunch of people who replied to this, and all of their stories were fascinating. Yeah. I think it’s 

Big John Isner: only right. I mean, I, and this is one thing I think that Appalachia researchers which I’m gonna get killed by saying that. But, but people who really who studied the region, I think to overlook why, yes, we have a ton of people leaving, but why are people still coming?

Because there are people that still moved Appalachia that’s still happening. So the question is. W, how did they get, why are they coming for one and two? How can we use that knowledge to then assess the rest of the region and hopefully figure out some of the, the main things to get people 

Chuck Corra: back in the, yeah, absolutely.

Because look like we have, we are not sure cutting, and we’re not being apologists. There are some major problems in Appalachia that cause people to leave. And I, and if you’ve listened to previous episodes, we’ve gone over several of those, including my own. But one thing that, that I think. I agree with you.

I think it does get overlooked because a lot of times the discussion is on diagnosing the problem. Right. Of like, okay, why are people leaving? Which is totally right. And needs to be done. But what gets less attention? And I’m sure there’s a lot of academic research on it too. I’m not saying there’s not, but what gets less attention is this of like the people that are, what, what is working, what you tinker around with it, what is working?

And so and maybe that’s enough the best way to frame this. I don’t know. Everybody’s experience is different, but I think the least we can do is delve into some of these reasons and try to draw some inferences from it. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. We just, I guess my point is we can’t ignore it. Why some people are coming, because I do think that for a lot of the times, we look at the research and show, okay, there are two, two people that are leaving.

 For the longest time, it was old people who were leaving because they didn’t want to pay social security tax. Which a lot of the states and Appalachia still forced people to do. Or two it’s young people leaving because they have to leave for jobs, brain drain, et cetera. But I think it’s only smart of us to then say, okay, we know those problems.

We were trying to combat them as best we can. But what if we took a look at what was bringing some people in and try and maybe use that to our advantage, it’s not going to solve everything, but maybe we can use it for a slight 

Chuck Corra: advantage. So, John, you’re going to start you you’ve got an example from a response from somebody that follows us on social.

Big John Isner: Yeah. The reason I want to bring this up too is that we often talk about the beauty around Appalachia and the things, you know, the one, the reasons why people leave, but to kind of the beauty within Appalachia, that’s sometimes being forced out, I guess. But there, there was a reply that I never even thought of.

We talk about recreation all the time, Chuck, about how that could be used as a huge benefit. And normally we talk about like biking, you know, like riding motor riding, mountain bikes, stuff like that. This person said I haven’t moved there yet, but I plan to because of twisty roads for motorcycle riding and awesome hiking in the Smokies.

Again, the reason I want to bring that up is that we did, I mean, we had an entire discussion about this before, where a lot of the times we look at, you know, obviously, there’s no jobs here, some amenities are lacking, but one of the big things that we can start to take advantage of are the recreational possibilities.

And allowing younger people to come here and do these types of things because they can’t do it all across the country. Appalachia is very unique when it comes to what they can offer recreationally and put a unique twist on it. And I think that this was just a good comment that showed that that is really still a reason people come here.

Chuck Corra: Yeah, it is. To some extent it ends up being a little cliche, I guess, because that is something that people talk about a lot, but it’s important. You know, what they tell you in school lean into your strengths, or when they tell you they didn’t tell me that on the soccer field, they usually just say, get off the field.

But for the players that actually had skills, they would tell lean into your strengths. And so I think that that’s something that Appalachia could really do and is doing, I think but maybe as a way of marketing to people of bringing more people there, because I think. I think that people view Appalachia in terms of the prison that they understand it to be.

And so by trying to get people to see different parts of it, understand, you know, that there is like this, no, it’s not just the mountains. There’s so much about it. There’s so much of a outdoor recreational environment and culture to the region. I think that’s a big part of it is that there’s a recreational culture as well as amenities.

 So that’s, I mean, it is really important. So you know, a lot of what I saw was related to the natural scenery. Right. And and so I think I saw, I won’t share all of them, but there were several responses that said, you know, now that I’m working remotely, either I moved here because I can work remotely or that I planned to move there.

Because I’m now able to work remotely, as long as the opportunity presents itself, as long as I’m able to work remotely in Appalachia, which I found to be really interesting and something, you know, we’ve talked about on several occasions about like how important broadband and just reliable high-speed internet is in general to Appalachia future.

This is a big part of it. There are people, so many people that work remotely. Now I don’t have the statistic in front of me, but the economy like the job economy has changed fundamentally since the pandemic and now more people than ever are able to work remotely. So you start to look at what those barriers to entry to Appalachia were.

One of which was jobs, being a huge part of it. And suddenly that is not as big of a problem. And the problem lies with making people or enabling people to be able to do their job there. If you can work remotely and you want to place, it’s beautiful, that’s got a lower cost of living and that allows for a little bit simpler life or in the hustle and bustle of a, like a New York city or something like that.

Or, or wherever it doesn’t have to be a huge city. Then Appalachia is a region that is a very enticing place. So I thought that was interesting. And I think it’s something that I know there’s a lot of discussion about it, you know, way more than I do about the whole broadband thing. And like, you know, you see all these headlines about got a grant here and a grant there of how much of that is actually making a difference.

I don’t know. I’m sure you have a better sense of that than I do. 

Big John Isner: Broadband’s expensive, man. It’s just so expensive and getting people. The big thing is, and this is what sucks is you kind of have to have people come into an area before broadband is even probably going to be a possibility, just because of how much it costs to put broadband there.

So they need the population, the homes, et cetera. But I will say that I think some of them, I don’t know what I would categorize may be larger rural cities. So like for instance, I put a Parkersburg in that, right. Because it’s probably more rural than other places, but it’s still a pretty big city when it comes to West Virginia and for many parts of Appalachia.

 You know, Charleston, I think is a bit bigger, but you still get the point, right? That I think is those, those cities, that level, that level of population, the amenities there, et cetera. I think that’s where people are going to start looking to move because one, it costs less than major cities. Obviously two, it has enough amenities to where it’s at least attractive in Appalachia.

You know, it’s attractive enough, I guess, is what I can say. And three, it has broadband already in place. So if you have a pretty high-paying remote job, and you’re looking for a place where you can live, that has the things that you want. And that’s affordable those towns in Appalachia, those cities in Appalachia, that’s where they need to start taking advantage of that and saying, look, we got everything you want, or at least we have enough of what you want.

Our home prices in Appalachia are super low compared to where you’re probably living now and we have reliable internet. The big thing here is just to remember we can, we can talk, I guess, about this to death, but really until the cities in Appalachia start to realize that this is a big place, that they can make a huge jump, that we’re, it’s such a missed opportunity until somebody starts taking advantage of it.

I mean, this could be massive for pretty much every state in the entire region. But I don’t see enough taking advantage 

Chuck Corra: of it. Yeah. I, I completely agree. Like remote work is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere, especially with how much, how much more flexible people can be. If you have children or you just have like complicated lives, family, that kind of thing.

 It’s here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. And the choices on states, localities regions to figure out what to do with that and tease to their advantage. And it’s a golden goose opportunity. There was one story I wanted to share. It doesn’t really require much discussion. I thought it was really wonderful story.

I wanted to share it. One person said:

My family moved from India because of the natural beauty in Appalachia. My dad said it seemed like the ideal place for children and my mom said it reminded her of the sound of music. The first English language film she saw as a child.

I thought that was a really cool story.

And I think it is indicative of what the appeal can be for a place like this for a place like Appalachia. Obviously, it’s a diverse region and parts of it are different than others. But I just wanted to share that one because I thought it was neat. There is one there that I think we should talk about.

This one I just added. So this person said:

They came for grad school at Western Carolina University, which is in Western North Carolina because of their really good psychology program, and lived in relatively rural areas while completing my coursework and internship first year of my career as a school psychologist, I then moved to nearby Asheville. I continued to commute half an hour and no more rural county to work as a school psychologist, but I like the amenities that Asheville has to offer. I’m also a musician and really loved being part of Asheville’s rich music community. Working in these areas has taught me a lot about the struggles of the region, as well as the resiliency of its people.

So this is actually kind of bookends your point that you mentioned earlier now. Asheville is a much bigger city in Appalachia than Parkersburg. Appalachia can capitalize on some of these anchor cities. Like your Asheville’s, like your Knoxville’s, like your Chattanooga’s even your Pittsburgh’s for example.

Even the smaller cities in Appalachia like Parkersburg, but especially places like Asheville, where it is a really cool place to live, it’s a very cool city. And one that, that gets people into a beautiful part of the region and can kind of spread growth out like that. That’s one thing, I mean, and I know there’s gonna be a lot of people that are like, well, like, like gentrification stuff in Asheville is a problem and that’s absolutely true.

But I think it’s going to be problems with anything, no matter what happens, but enticing people to come to a region like Appalachia means breaking down stereotypes about it and, and educating people on what Appalachia actually is. And two it’s presenting opportunities in places where there’s still a lot to do.

We’ve talked about this throughout the series about how amenities, especially for millennials and gen Z are extremely important about being able to embrace a diverse culture where you live and have a lot of stuff to do. Asheville is a perfect example of that for Appalachia.

Big John Isner: Yeah. I think some of these cities in Appalachia need to start taking advantage of being so close. For instance, I think Wheeling West Virginia really needs to take advantage of being so close to Pittsburgh a little bit more. They need to almost clarify or classify themselves almost like an outside suburb of it.

Yeah. It’s, it’s still a little while away, but I think it’s close enough and you’re starting to see enough growth there that you could probably justify it. And there are plenty of people who make that commute all the time. And I think if you start to maybe advertise that, show that and incorporate that into your messaging.

Chuck Corra: People desire an aesthetically pleasing place to live. One person said that

They moved to the region for a nonprofit job, helping the region transition to a clean energy economy.

I think this one’s really important. And we’ve talked about clean energy to some extent on this show in the past, but I really feel like this is an opportunity to bring in and attract people to the region that may not otherwise have even given it a second thought because like the clean energy economy is growing rapidly.

If you look at just the trajectory of those for the future, I mean, coal jobs are on the decline. I think even natural gas might be as well. I’m not sure about that, but like when, when wind energy jobs, solar energy jobs are going to be increasing more, I think in the future, Clean energy, car jobs, sustainable building jobs, those types of things.

And a lot of that could be happening in the region. I think like I’m not an economist, I’m not a green jobs economist, but you look at the energy economy in the region and its transition. There’s something there. And that could, they’re like clean energy jobs are, are popular among people who are in school right now.

Like a lot of people that, that want to work in energy, wanna work in clean energy. There’s a real opportunity to bring people into the region if the right investments are made and if the right policy decisions are made right now. I don’t think at a macro level for the region they are and that’s a problem because again, this is an opportunity should the right people that make the decisions choose to take it.

Big John Isner: Yeah. I think West Virginia, Maryland are really good examples of this because when you’re going through West Virginia, a lot of the times you see, you know, Older coal towns that are kind of, you know, they’re abandoned now. They don’t have any real economy left. Then you’ve got, and you have a legislature that the entire time that you’re talking about how they don’t want to move towards a green economy because they’re so hooked on the one thing that honestly is just not getting it done anymore in Appalachia.

And we know that but then you go over the state line to Maryland and there are hundreds of thousands of solar panels. There are wind turbines. There’s a, there’s so much stuff.

I got one more than I want to mention because I do have to go eat dinner but I just wanted to mention because I think it’s a good wrap up and it’s I guess a little less specific:

The music, the people, the mountains, the desire to move out of the city and have some room to breathe. I am from New York, but somehow West Virginia has always felt like home.

I thought that that was really important. You know, we often talk about very large urban areas, having great job prospects and you know, some, sometimes better environmental prospects, but then you started to think about it too. And that’s where some of these areas in Appalachia are able to kind of capitalize on being so small is because a lot of people don’t like the congestion of large areas.

They don’t like how many people are there. They don’t like that. It takes forever to get somewhere in their car, but play, you know, places in Appalachia don’t have that problem. It’s more kind of an open feel. And if you didn’t pay attention to the politics, it probably feels a lot more welcoming unfortunately politics in Appalachia kind of stopped that sometimes.

The other big thing that I wanted to mention, there is the music. And we talked about this like last year on how we thought that Appalachian music and folklore, but really music could be used as a massive benefit for the region because it, it has this, I don’t even know what you’d call it. It has this draw that people love and they want to hear more of it.

I think Tyler Childers is a really good example of it. If you listen to his music, you’re like, shit, that is good. Like point-blank. It’s good. But he does. I don’t even think he gets enough love, but a lot of Appalachian artists who are really, really, really good get ignored because of that, because of where they’re from, to be honest, if we were able to amplify that, find a way to do it, I think you’d start to see more.

You know more, I don’t know if you call them clubs, but more places to perform. You’d have more interest in yeah. More venues. You’d see more interest from people outside the region, wanting to come here to see a specific act. Right. You wouldn’t just see it in Nashville or some of these other big cities.

You’d see it all across the region. And I think one with the power of the internet, we have that ability. But two, I think it just has to be a correlated effort. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m so sick of seeing a lot of Appalachian musicians overlooked when honestly they’re probably some, they probably are the best in the country.

Chuck Corra: I do think that there is in. And the entertainment industry possibility for Appalachia that that’s kind of untapped at this point. I really do because there’s a lot of potential for that. There’s certainly plenty of talent. And you’ve seen where other cities, other places rather have wrestled the rains away from the powerhouses of different industries.

For example Atlanta and parts of north Georgia are a really huge part of the film industry. Now it’s not just all based in Los Angeles, West Virginia used to be 

Big John Isner: what. West Virginia used to have a pretty large spot in that too. And they took away the one reason that they would film here and that was, they had a film tax credit.

No, they had a film tax credit and they took that away and they saw a bunch of people essentially say, okay if you’re not going to give us that tax credit, we’re going to move production. And then you see the increase from there. Georgia was already kind of going up, but they took a significant bump when that started to 

happen.

Chuck Corra: Well, that was fucking stupid of them. 

Big John Isner: It was very bad. It was a very bad 

Chuck Corra: idea. Yeah. Well, anytime you take away a tax credit from the industry, whether or not you agree with tax credits, which they’re thorny complicated subjects, but anytime you take it away the industry is not going to like that.

And we’ll probably do something. Cause that’s that’s Georgia. They have great texts. 

Big John Isner: That’s why they’re so good. And West Virginia used to have that ability. And then one, all of a sudden there, they said, Nope, no more film tab or film. 

Chuck Corra: That is in Nashville. That’s a lot of the reason why they ended up having the TV show, Nashville film there.

 And so a lot of national data’s will be like through that, which there’s a lot of issues that I get it. But it was a huge boom, like economically for the city. There was a lot of problems that come from that. So nobody get on my case about that. I understand them very well. But suffice it to say, just from an industry, bringing jobs, that’s, that’s, that’s a one way to do it.

 Here’s my last one on Instagram. It says no one does it better than her. I did definitely choose her over any other trader. During those turbulent days, I invested $3,000 to my biggest shock. I got a return of 25,000. Sorry. We get a lot of spam. We get a lot of spam. Though my real one is it’s kind of like yours affordable land, quiet autonomy feeling at home in a working class place.

I E less yuppies. All right. I just want to hit for me. I’m not trying to paint with a broad brush for all of the DC Metro area, but there are a lot of people in DC that are very yuppy and very, I think, really obsessed with themselves. There’s a joke that you know, every time you go into a bar, the only thing people want to talk about is their job and asking you about your job, because either they want to know so that they can feel better about themselves, or they want to try to network with you.

And it’s not a job it’s fact or it’s not a joke. It’s a fact. But I do think that, especially, you mentioned before with people living in big cities, that’s where the opportunity has been the job opportunity for the past, you know, however many years, like that’s it. And we’ve talked about, that’s why I moved.

 And that’s why lots of people flock to New York. City’s flocked to Los Angeles, to Chicago, to Houston, to, you know, what have you, that’s changing now. Because of the nature of remote work and a lot of other things, and people are starting to reevaluate what type of cultural field they want for their home.

And this is a really important thing. And I think like when I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, I did not think about that as much. Like when I first graduated from college or when I first went to college or when I first graduated from law school, like I wanted somewhere where I could make good money and I also wanted to be an exciting place and like see all these new places and stuff.

You don’t think about how you’re building a life somewhere, which when you mentioned the congestion of a big city, that’s a huge part for people who are trying to start a family, New York city is very hard to do that and not be completely poor. Appalachia is a place where that is possible.

So I think it’s not like this is not some great revelation or anything, like, but it bears repeating because it is an important part of it. And part of that might be capitalizing off that fact when it comes to actually trying to draw more people in, I 

Big John Isner: think that’s, that’s fair. It’s one of those things.

And I think the big thing that I kinda w I, it kinda hit me when you were talking was it’s a lot of the times I think Appalachia gets overlooked too, because it is honestly really bad at marketing itself. A lot of the region is, and one of those being keyword here, opportunity, right? Like New York city is a great example because it’s like the land of opportunity.

Right. But if you actually go and look into the things of New York, The poverty rate is pretty high. The cost to live there is astronomical to the point where people are paying like $2,000 a month to have a shared bathroom. I mean, it’s insane stuff, but there and not, everybody’s going to make it that’s the that’s.

The other thing is like, well, you know, give it a shot. Not everybody’s gonna make it, but you can’t tell me with all the remote work, with the ability to use social media, I really feel like Appalachia has the opportunity to start to market itself as you know, a, a better option to, to have some success.

It’s got to break the mold of if you’re moving to Appalachia, it’s because you’re, you know, you’re going to deal with poverty and blah, blah, blah. I think the marketing just kind of sucks for the region. Overall, the states in the region don’t do a great job when it comes to marketing themselves.

And a lot of that is because they’ve done such a terrible job elsewhere, but I do think that there are places that marketing is key and messaging. And I think that has to be a significant factor moving forward as well. 

Chuck Corra: Oh, it absolutely does. I think that’s one of the biggest things. Right. And it sounds simple and people kind of scoff at the idea of marketing, but it’s a big part of it.

I mean, look at you look at a successful marketing campaign, right. For states, you know, and it makes a huge difference because that dictates your perception of that place. And there’s, it’s not a coincidence, like, look for example, to your point about people moving out of cities, San Francisco, I think still holds the title as most expensive city in America.

 And it’s extremely densely populated. It actually might be the most densely populated city in America. It’s, it’s remarkably small for many people who live there. I was looking and the people moving out of San Francisco, I think over the course of 2021 jumped 21% because it not only. I think a lot of the nature of, or the advent of remote work allow people to kind of reevaluate what, what they found important about a place.

And so San Francisco is extremely expensive. A lot of tech workers saw this as an opportunity to move elsewhere because they couldn’t, they wanted to be able to, you know, save more money instead of living in the most expensive city in the country. And a lot of people just can’t afford to live in a place like that anymore.

And so if you can work remotely and not have to live in the most expensive city in the country, why would you it’s it, this is a, this is a huge thing that Kristen and I are considering right now. Cause we live in the DC Metro area, which is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. And we’re, I’m working remotely, she’s currently working mostly remotely and we’re considering like, you know, how can we do that in a cheaper place?

Big John Isner: Yeah. I think everybody is. I mean, I really do. Yeah. Obviously they’re going to be some jobs and some obstacles and things like that that, you know, it’s just not going to transition. Well, however, I do think you’re going to see more of that, but in order, in order to capitalize, you’ve got to be able to tell people why.

And unfortunately right now we don’t see that from. The region, they, they’re not able to tell you their why, why should you move here versus why should you move elsewhere? And the reason why is because they’ve done a terrible job at a lot of things, to be honest, but they’ve done a very bad job at marketing.

Because if you look a lot of the time with marketing, when it comes to these states, they almost play into the stereotypes. And it 

Chuck Corra: doesn’t mean when I think, especially in elected levels, you have a lot of people that are completely out of touch with what people want nowadays. And I’ll take a note like this is a Republican and Democrat problem.

I will take a knock at some Republican leadership. They love to brag about things like, oh, look at how good our credit rating is. I can tell you how many people give a shit about that. It is zero. Who are looking to, to move to a new state. Now, a state income tax certainly is part of it. But a low credit rating, nobody or a great credit rating for a state.

Nobody, I, I can’t even tell you what that means practically. But what people do care about is a place that’s reflective of the values that they share and that they want to live in a place where they’re going to feel accepted and loved and not shunned for who they are. And that’s where a lot of times these state legislative bodies and state leadership in general fall short.

Big John Isner: Yeah. The last thing I want to mention is what you just said there too. Some people are not going to like this. Okay. And I’m just looking at this from a strategy perspective. And I think one of the states in Appalachia is like this Tennessee does not have a state income tax, right? Nope. Okay. I honestly think more Appalachian states need to go to that to attract people, to move here.

The reason being. It’s a very attractive thing. So when you don’t have the jobs that maybe some of these other places do, but you can incentivize through that. I mean, that’s not a bad thing. 

Chuck Corra: So I have a lot of thoughts on that. I’m not necessarily there with you and but I’m not, not maybe, I don’t know.

I have a lot of problems with that because of how you replace the revenue. But, well, let me just say real quick, moving from Tennessee to Virginia sucked because I saw a lot more money get taken out of my paycheck, which was super lame. So it didn’t like that, but. The thing I don’t like about just flat up saying like, yes, we need to have, we need to eliminate the state income tax in these states.

And let me just say, I’m not a policy wonk, I’m not a budget person. So take that with a grain of salt. Don’t look at me as an expert, please, in order to do that, you have to find a way to replace that revenue because already a place like West Virginia for example, is struggling to fund necessary services and they do have a state income tax, which a lot of people, especially like poor people could extremely benefit from.

That’s why, like, I think it’s, first of all, I think you should do a state income tax. That’s that’s a progressive income tax. That is a very progressive income tax that people that make more money at a higher rate and has a pretty high cutoff, but that’s just my own personal opinion. But I do wonder How you’re going to replace that revenue.

And because the problem then becomes, it’s like, oh, we’re going to have to raise taxes on something else who does that hurt? So that would be my question for that. Like I think it’s, it would get more people interested, more businesses interested for sure. But oftentimes the problem is that policy makers only think about the businesses.

They don’t think about the people, the human impact, the people who already live there, who are sacrificing things so that these businesses can get tax credits and can avoid state income taxes. That’s the type of thing that I think there’s not enough discussion about. And that’s something I noticed when I was in Tennessee.

You know, the governor did a big ribbon cutting for the Beretta facility to move into Galton or wherever and bringing 600 new jobs. But that’s a great headline, but it doesn’t tell you the full story, and those are good jobs. I’m not knocking that at all. I’m just saying that there, there has to be more consideration than just the headline and the numbers because whenever you cut out revenue, somebody always says.

Big John Isner: Oh, for sure. It’s not something you could do overnight. At all, it would take some type of significant increase. I dunno, like maybe partially legalizing marijuana and creating a new tax stream. You know, it’s going to be stuff like that, but you’re right. You have to put that in place in order to start to justify some of these changes.

So, you know, the, it is taken with obviously a grain of salt, but I, I guess in general, I’m thinking the region has to do something like that, I guess is kind of. 

Chuck Corra: I agree, they need to figure out something. And, and just as an example here, and we can get off the subject, I found this really quickly. And so for example, some states how they make up their revenue and I’m sorry, cause this gets a little budget wonky, but except for Tennessee, and I remember this, they have a high sales tax and in Nashville, the sales tax, because you have a state sales tax and the city one, it’s almost 10%, it’s pretty high.

 They also have the highest beer tax, I think in the country. New Hampshire, they tax on interest of an income Florida and post as a corporate income tax. Texas has high property tax. Washington state has high gas taxes and high state and local taxes. So there are ways to do it. But a sales tax, for example, is inherently regressive.

And so that’s something that is not an attractive thing for people that live here, especially lower income. So it’s a struggle, but I agree with you, there has to be some sort of solution to incentivize people economically to move 

Big John Isner: there. Yeah. Yeah. Sales taxes are very aggressive and it only hurts the poorest of the poor and that’s unfortunate.

And that, that, that’s definitely one thing you want to avoid. That’s why I’m saying instead of raising taxes on, on people, I think you’re going to have to do is create new revenue. Yeah. 

Chuck Corra: And Hey weed, there you go. One way to do it. As you said, I mean, that’s it, I mean, it helps man. Well, we can end it there.

I know that we gotta, we gotta be moving on, but that was good. It was a good discussion.

Beef with the Machine Gun Kelly of beef

But to end it, as we always do, what’s let’s cruise right on into the beef. John, if you’re cool with that, I call him the machine gun Kelly of beef. So dedicated to the beef that he gets engaged to it and drinks its blood under a band Nan tree.

When people say he smells like beef, he responds with, I am beef. Beef with Big John.

Big John Isner: Okay. I was going to do a serious lot of references. I was going to do a serious beef, but then I don’t, I don’t want to, that’s really the case. So, and I guess this is kind of serious as a Bengals fan. Okay. This week, Chuck, I’ve got. With the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line. 

Chuck Corra: Oh, well you mean like the lack thereof, 

Big John Isner: right?

They got our boy fellow Appalachian, Joe Burrow absolutely destroyed against the tenant and they’ve done it all year. He’s one of the saddest quarterbacks. I think he actually might be the saddest quarterback they’re killing our, our, our boy Joe burrow from Athens, Ohio. And it kills me to say that because obviously, we’re Bengals fans.

We’re glad that they’re winning, but we got to protect. We got to protect that asset. Okay. Protect that asset. We got to protect Joe burrow at all costs, Athens, Ohio boy. Okay. I’ve never seen so much. Local happiness. When it comes to Joe burrow. Like people, when you go to Athens, they’re like, that’s our guy.

Like we wa like, like we helped him get there and they have this sense of community. And it’s great. It’s fantastic to have an Appalachian that’s killing it. And a professional sports league, especially the NFL, but that offensive line, man, I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re getting him killed to the point where.

I mean, look, that’s how impressive he is. I mean, he’s still throwing for 300 yards and getting killed, but imagine what he would do if he wasn’t. Yeah. 

Chuck Corra: Give him the Superbowl right now. If that was the case. I I kinda, I kind of viewed the offensive line. I’m going to put a little biblical spin on this.

They’re kind of a, as the apostle Peter from the Bible, you know how Peter disappointed Jesus by denying him three times. Well, a, they disappointed Joe burrow by getting him sacked nine times. So it’s almost like they’re three times worse than the apostle. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. Look, it’s awful. It’s so bad.

And that kills me. It looks, I want to be specific. The right side of the offensive line is atrocious. I don’t know what they’re paying them, but they should have to pay it back. I mean, it’s that bad? You can’t, there’s gotta be somebody that will protect Joe burrow. There has to go to Athens. I bet you’ll find some big dude that will protect Joe burrow.

Oh 

Chuck Corra: gosh. We’re just, we’re just talking about how we make up for lost tax revenue. Well, you just tax the offensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals a lot more and that’ll make up for some. 

Big John Isner: Yeah. So the, I guess the other thing to throw in is we gotta have to beef with the NFL officiating, cause they did not want the Bengals to win that game, Chuck, but Joe burrow, the, I think the, the Appalachian of the year right now is just continuing.

Chuck Corra: I was going to say it’s it’s close. 

Big John Isner: And if he brings a super bowl to Cincinnati, I mean, Ooh, oh shit. I’m just saying he’s going to be up there. He’s going to be up there with the big names. He’s not going to reach Dolly level lobby. But we may be talking about a Joe burrow, maybe Tyler Childers type ranking.

He’s got, I 

Chuck Corra: be up there, man. I mean, there D I a statue at the, at a minimum, you know, 

Big John Isner: he’s 20 and they’ve already named the high school stadium after 

Chuck Corra: which it’s like, how do you go up from there? I mean you know, they might as well name the high school after him this blank because you know, why not? If he also, oh, 

Big John Isner: they probably will.

Chuck Corra: Someone said there was, oh, okay. So it is all right. So I did want to point out to you cause somebody did mention this on our on our Twitter when we posted about it, that there was another native Appalachian on the Bengals that had a pretty good day, which is the kicker Evan MacPherson.

Evan MacPherson, who is from Fort Payne, Alabama, which if you go by the arc definition of Appalachia, so that’s a tube, heavy hitter. That’s right there. 

Big John Isner: I mean, my God. Okay. Let me tell you how cool Evan MacPherson is. This, this kid is a rookie. They, he has to go out and hit a 52 yard field goal to win the game, to send the Cincinnati Bengals to the AFC championship.

He, they call a timeout with three seconds left. He looks at Joe burrow and says, well, boys, I guess we’re going to the AFC championship and walks out and drills a 52 

Chuck Corra: yards. That’s M pimp shit right there. My God. 

Big John Isner: I mean, he just look it’s that. I gotta be honest. It’s the Appalachia at him. Okay. All right.

That’s what I’m thinking. Always considered counted out, but then shows up man. 

Chuck Corra: Kickers just have so much confidence. I’m so jealous. 

Big John Isner: And he is so good. Like it’s insane. He’s a fifth round pick, which is super high for a kicker. He, if you go look up his tic talk, he’s like kicking footballs to hit Gatorades on top of the stadium.

Like he’s that accurate? 

Chuck Corra: Damn it is the Ronald Denio of NFL kickers. Somebody will get diarrhea. 

Big John Isner: Jane Johnson. He is the Dwayne Johnson kicking. Wow. 

Chuck Corra: Loves him. I thought Dwayne Johnson was the Dwayne Johnson kicking ass. All right.

what a, what a way to end it there. I know that you we’ve got to do an exclusive and we both got to eat. So that was a good, good beef. It ended up on a positive note. We’d love to see it. And hopefully, you know what, here’s the thing. It real you know, real time opportunity for someone for the, the subject of the beef to remedy it.

And we’ll see if it has. I’m 

Big John Isner: with 

Chuck Corra: you. Yeah. So we’re looking at you offensive line. What, that let’s close it out. Thank you all for listening to us so much, really appreciate it. Rate us on apple podcasts. If you haven’t already check out our merchant store, buy up some of the stuff there. It’s pretty cool.

 Follow some of the social medians and join our Patreon. If you haven’t already. Cause we were about to go record a really good exclusive there about cocaine, Mitch McConnell that you’re not going to want to miss. Thanks, everybody. And have a great night.

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