Related Rural Blog Posts
- Posted byon August 15, 2011 at 10:55 AM EST
President Obama wants to hear from Americans about how national economic policies are affecting life in your communities. He is spending the next three days on the road in the Midwest, and will participate in four town hall meetings, two on Monday and two on Wednesday. Each of the question and answer sessions will be live streamed on whitehouse.gov/live.
The President kicks off his three day rural tour today in Cannon Falls, Minnesota with a meeting at Lower Hannah's Bend Park at 1:05 pm EDT. Later this afternoon, he will be in Decorah, Iowa for another town hall session with locals at the Seed Savers Exchange, which starts at 6:15 EDT.
- Posted byon August 15, 2011 at 5:00 AM EST
This morning, President Obama will visit Cannon Falls, Minnesota to kick off his economic bus tour. The President is traveling around the Midwest to stress the vital role rural America plays in ensuring the growth of our economy, the affordability of our food, the independence of our energy supply, and the strength of our communities. Cannon Falls, Minnesota, 35 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul, is the first stop in a three day tour across America’s heartland. President Obama will take questions from small business owners, rural organizations and local families during a town hall beginning at 1:05 pm EDT at Lower Hannah's Bend Park. Tune in to the town hall live at WhiteHouse.gov/live.
- Posted byon August 12, 2011 at 4:02 PM EST
Today, the White House Rural Council released a new report titled Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America (pdf). This is a product of what we have been working on since President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council on June 9.
I hope that you’ll take a few minutes to read the report because it gives a really good picture of the economic landscape in rural America today. It also shows the commitment and key investments the Obama Administration has already made in rural communities.
The Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America (pdf) report, focuses on 5 critical areas:
- Creating jobs and promoting economic growth
- Improving access to quality health care and education
- Fostering innovation
- Expanding outdoor opportunities
- Supporting veterans and military families
- Posted byon August 11, 2011 at 6:55 AM EST
Last week, I joined the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness for a discussion in Silicon Valley on the importance of high growth companies to job creation in the US. On Friday, my travels to Blacksburg, VA, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, validated three key messages discussed earlier in the week with the Jobs Council:
Native American Business Leaders Share Their Ideas on Economic Growth with Senior Administration OfficialsPosted byon August 8, 2011 at 2:30 PM EST
Recently, I wrote about the Obama Administration’s commitment to collaborate with tribal leaders and experts in Native American economic development to help the White House Rural Council to develop policy recommendations on issues impacting Indian Country.
Last week, the Domestic Policy Council and National Economic Council convened a meeting with Native American economic development experts for a White House Native American Business Leaders Roundtable. As part of the White House Rural Council’s ongoing engagement with leaders from across Rural America, this roundtable gave Administration officials an opportunity to hear from Native American business leaders and policy experts about ways we can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs in tribal communities.
At the listening session, participants discussed challenges tribal businesses face, including access to capital, job skills and training shortfalls, and limited broadband deployment and adoption in tribal communities. Meeting participants included David Gipp, the president of the United Tribes Technical College for the past three decades; Valerie Fast Horse, who has led efforts to bring wireless Internet service to the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation and is now working on a $12.2 million project to provide faster Internet service through fiber optic connections; and Jackie Johnson Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), who worked on Indian Country economic development as Deputy Assistant Secretary for HUD’s Office of Native American Programs during the Clinton Administration and now coordinates NCAI’s federal policy advocacy on behalf of tribal governments. Participants were asked to provide suggestions and insight on potential near-term administrative actions to foster economic growth and community development in Indian Country.
- Posted byon August 3, 2011 at 7:00 AM EST
At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary Shinseki often talks about the tyranny of distance – the distance that often separates Veterans from care at their nearest VA medical facilities. For about 3.3 million Vets, or 41 percent of the total enrolled in VA’s health care system, distance is more than a challenge. Distance can mean rural Veterans don’t have access to the care and services they’ve earned.
Secretary Shinseki made it clear – this summer, he wanted to hear from Veterans in the hardest to reach places. “I know from previous experience that sitting in Washington with a 2,000-mile screwdriver trying to fine tune things at the local level never works,” he said. So, we hit the road to learn firsthand.
From the plains of North Dakota and Montana to the isolated island of Guam, Veterans from rural areas talked with Secretary Shinseki about what’s working and what the department can do better. To many Veterans, it was clear VA has shifted its approach to be more accessible. But we also quickly learned that standard definitions like “urban, rural, and highly rural” may not be exact enough. Often, “remote, extreme rural, and inaccessible” is more accurate.
The “inaccessible” category would definitely include Kwigillingok, Alaska, or Kwig, located in the far reaches of Central Yup’ik near the Bering Sea. On Memorial Day, Secretary Shinseki visited Kwig to meet and honor living members of the Alaska Territorial Guard, who served bravely during World War II. No roads lead to Kwig, so the trip wasn’t easy. We hopped on a flight in Anchorage, and connected in the small town of Bethel – about 1,000 miles roundtrip. When we finally landed on the dirt landing strip in Kwig, villagers on all-terrain vehicles appeared from all over to give us rides to the village center.