THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 30, 2009
President Obama Announces Rural Tour with Cabinet Secretaries and Administration Officials
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, President Obama announced the launch of his Administration’s Rural Tour. This summer, over the course of the next few weeks and months, top Administration officials, including Cabinet Secretaries, will fan out across the nation to hold a series of discussions on how communities, states, and the federal government can work together to help strengthen rural America.
Vice President Joe Biden and Secretaries Gary Locke and Tom Vilsack will kick-off the Rural Tour on July 1st by visiting Wattsburg, Pennsylvania, to discuss the issue of rural broadband.
"A healthy American economy depends on a prosperous rural America," President Obama said. "Rural America is vast and diverse, and different communities face different challenges and opportunities. That’s why we’re going out to hear directly from the people of rural America about their needs and concerns and what my Administration can do to support them."
Administration officials participating in the Rural Tour will hear about the diverse set of challenges and opportunities facing the small towns and rural communities that are so integral to the fabric of American life. They will share some of the Administration’s ideas about how to nurture strong, robust, and vibrant rural communities. And, when they have heard from the people, they will report back to the President about the state of rural America, and what the Administration can do to strengthen it.
These events, involving multiple Cabinet secretaries, will serve as listening sessions to focus on such issues as broad-based rural health, economic development, infrastructure, education, energy, natural resources, and agriculture. Events will be held in Alaska, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. And, Secretary Vilsack will hold listening sessions in additional states with local and state elected officials.
The entire tour will provide an opportunity for the Obama Administration to listen to diverse voices throughout rural America, and to highlight its broader vision for growth and prosperity in these regions of the country.
Rural Tour events planned so far include:
Vice President Joe Biden and Secretaries Gary Locke and Tom Vilsack will travel to Wattsburg, PA, to discuss rural broadband.
Secretaries Ray LaHood and Tom Vilsack will travel to La Crosse, WI, to discuss rural economic development.
Secretaries Steven Chu and Tom Vilsack will travel to Ringgold, VA, to discuss green jobs and a new energy economy, with a focus on weatherization and carbon sequestration.
Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius, Eric Shinseki, Hilda Solis and Tom Vilsack will travel to St. John’s Parish, LA, to discuss rural healthcare.
Secretaries Steven Chu, Shaun Donovan, Arne Duncan, Ken Salazar and Tom Vilsack will travel to Bethel, AK, to discuss rural infrastructure, green jobs and a new energy economy, as well as climate change.
Secretaries Ken Salazar and Tom Vilsack will travel to Zanesville, OH, to discuss green jobs and a new energy economy, with a focus on renewable energies.
Secretaries Arne Duncan and Tom Vilsack will travel to Hamlet, NC, to discuss rural education.
Secretaries Ken Salazar and Tom Vilsack will travel to Scottsbluff, NE, to discuss production agriculture.
Secretaries Shaun Donovan and Tom Vilsack will travel to Las Cruces, NM, to discuss rural infrastructure.
More details on the Rural Tour will be released when they become available.