Related Rural Blog Posts

  • Watch This: Highlights of the President's Tour through Rural Minnesota

    On Monday, President Obama visited Cannon Falls, Minnesota where he talked with a crowd of 500 locals at Hannah’s Bend Park. During the town hall meeting, the President discussed the challenges that Americans have faced over the past year and reiterated his belief that there is “nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed; what’s broken is our politics.” Later, the President traveled to the Old Market Deli where he had lunch with a group of veterans and was welcomed to the state by a local cowboy. 

    Go behind the scenes with the President as he meets with the people of Cannon Falls, eats at the Old Market Deli and travels through rural Minnesota.

    Interested in more White House video? Take a look at  the highlights of the President's trip through Iowa.

  • The Health of Our Lands and Waters and the Health of Our Economy

    Chair Sutley and Secretary Salazar at the Economic Rural Forum

    Chair Sutley and Secretary Salazar engage with stakeholders at a breakout session on conservation, tourism, and the economy at the White House Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa. (Photo by Tami Heilemann - Department of Interior)

    From the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has been a champion for the wise stewardship of America’s natural treasures, understanding the strong connection between the health of our lands and waters and the health of our economy. Smart, community-led conservation presents a tremendous opportunity to improve quality of life across America, and to build and grow local jobs in industries like recreation and tourism. In fact, one in every 20 jobs is related to outdoor recreation, making conservation integral to a thriving American economy. 

    Beginning very early in 2009 with the President’s historic signing of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, this Administration has invested in land and water protection by creating the most important conservation initiative in more than a generation. Through his America’s Great Outdoors initiative, the President has announced an action plan, built with ideas from the American people, to achieve lasting conservation of the outdoor spaces that communities care about, and to reconnect people – especially children – to the outdoors.

    In our most recent travels throughout the Northwest and the Northeast, we saw firsthand the intersection of conservation and economic growth in rural communities. Below are just a few of the highlights from our trips:

  • Rural Tour Day Three: Last Stop, Alpha Illinois

    Watch the President's Rural Town Hall here.

    President Obama ended his three day tour of the Midwest at a town hall meeting on a farm in rural Illinois, where he took questions on topics that ranged from enhanced protection for law enforcement officers to the shrinking size of local county fairs. The President’s last day was filled with opportunities to enjoy the rural landscape and attractions of his home state, and included stops at the Whiteside County Fair and a Galesburg High School football practice, in addition to an earlier town hall meeting in Atkinson.     

    The President told the crowd of 250 people  gathered at Alpha’s Country Corner Farm that they can expect to hear about new proposals that will put Americans back to work in the next few weeks.

    When folks tell you that we’ve got a choice between jobs now or dealing with our debt crisis, they’re wrong.  They’re wrong.  We can’t afford to just do one or the other.  We’ve got to do both.  And the way to do it is to make some -- reform the tax code, close loopholes, make some modest modifications in programs like Medicare and Social Security so they’re there for the next generation, stabilize those systems.  And you could actually save so much money that you could actually pay for some of the things like additional infrastructure right now. 

     We can close the deficit and put people to work, but what’s required is that folks work together.  That’s the big challenge.  That’s the big challenge. 

    And over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to be putting out more proposals to put people to work right now.  And some of them -- yes, some of them cost money.  And the way we pay for it is by doing more on deficit reduction than the plan that we had to come up with right at the last minute in order to avoid default.  We didn’t do as much as we could have. 

  • Rural Tour Day Three: Encouraging Job Growth

    Watch the President's Rural Town Hall here.

    The final day of President Obama's bus tour across America's heartland was jam packed with meetings and spontaneous stops to enjoy the local landscape. On his way to a town hall in Atkinson, Illinois to talk about strengthening the economy, the President pulled in to the Whiteside County Fair and checked out the dairy cow judging.

    President Barack Obama stops by the Whiteside County Fair in Morrison, Ill.

    President Barack Obama talks with people watching the dairy cow judging during a stop at the Whiteside County Fair in Morrison, Ill., , Aug. 17, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    During the town hall, President Obama discussed how inspiring the conversations he's having with Americans have been:

    Now, what’s been striking as I’ve been traveling through over the last few days -- you guys, you’re all fulfilling your responsibilities.  You’re working hard, you’re looking after your families, you’re volunteering at church, you’re coaching Little League -- you’re doing everything right.  And all you’re asking for, if I’m not mistaken, is that your political representatives take their responsibilities just as seriously. 

    And part of that means that you have to put politics aside sometimes to do what’s right for the country.  People have been asking me, well, why didn’t you call Congress back after this whole debt ceiling thing?  Why’d you let them leave town?  I say, well, I don’t think it would be good for business confidence and certainty just to see members of Congress arguing all over again.  I figured it was time for them to spend a little time back in their districts, hear your frustrations, hear your expectations. 

    As I’ve been driving on this bus, just seeing all those flags on the way in, seeing folks waving, little kids ready to go back to school, and grandparents in their lawn chairs, and folks out in front of the machine shop and out in front of the fire stations -- you go through small towns all throughout America, and it reminds you how strong we are and how resilient we are and how decent we are.  And that should be reflected in our politics; that should be reflected in our government. 

  • Last Stop on the Rural Tour: Alpha, Illinois

    Alpha, Illinois

    After a surprise stop at the Whiteside County Fair, President Obama is heading to the Country Corner Farm in Alpha, Illinois for his fourth town hall in three days. The President has been traveling through the Midwest discussing ideas on how the government can help promote economic growth, accelerate hiring and spur innovation in rural communities like Cannon Falls, MN, Decorah, IA and Atkinson, IL

    Tune in to the town hall live stream starting at 4:30 p.m. EDT on WhiteHouse.gov/live.

    Alpha, Illinois

  • White House Rural Council on the Road

    President Obama is not the only one traveling to hear from people from all around the country. There are more than 100 events being held throughout the summer so senior Administration officials can talk with Americans about their ideas for creating jobs and rebuilding our economy. Here are just some of the recent and upcoming events related to the White House Rural Council:

    Secretary Shinseki Listen to Questions from the Audience

    A veteran asks Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., a question during a roundtable in Billings, Mont., July 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Alaska

    • Department of Health and Human Services: On August 29, Secretary Sebelius will travel to Alaska, where she will visit several remote towns and villages to highlight the rural health and human services needs of tribal populations. The Secretary’s Alaska visit includes stops in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Anaktuvuk Pass, Barrow, and Tanana.
    • Department of Interior: From August 6-13, Secretary Salazar traveled to Alaska for a series of meetings, roundtables with business and Native leaders, and tours of key sites pertaining to energy, conservation, and Native Alaskan issues. In Anchorage, Secretary Salazar met with business leaders in Anchorage to discuss the need for safe and responsible development of Alaska’s energy resources. In Fairbanks, Secretary Salazar toured the Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service firefighting facilities with Sens. Murkowski and Reed.  In Alaska’s North Slope region, Secretary Salazar visited an Indian Health Services funded hospital currently under construction in Barrow – the northernmost community in the United States – as well as the Denali National Park, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.