What They’re Saying about the Blue Dog Coalition’s Agenda for Rural America
Last week, the Blue Dog Coalition released A Strong Rural America, an agenda that outlines the path to prosperity and restoring the American Dream in rural communities across the country. The agenda is intended to provide a roadmap for Congress to take a commonsense, bipartisan approach to revitalizing rural communities and addressing the level of inequality between rural and urban America. The effort was led by Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and members of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Special Task Force on Rural America.
Since its release, leaders, policy experts, and policy organizations have been buzzing about A Strong Rural America. Here’s what some of them are saying:
“Rural and farming communities play a vital role in America’s economy and way of life, and Democrats need to show rural voters that we are listening and working to help them get ahead. That’s why the Blue Dog Coalition’s new agenda, ‘A Strong Rural America,’ is so important. I thank Blue Dog Members for keeping rural issues an important focus for the Democratic Caucus and for the Congress.”
— Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD-05), Minority Whip, U.S. House of Representatives
“The Blue Dog Coalition has put forth a serious and substantive proposal to help grow the economy, raise wages and improve health care delivery in small towns across our nation. If we want to earn back the trust of hardworking families in rural America, we need to prove that we’re serious about partnering with them to create real change. I want to thank Congressman Tom O’Halleran for helping lead the charge to kickstart this conversation in Congress.”
— Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Co-Chair, House Democratic Policy & Communications Committee (DPCC)
“Rural communities are unique, and so are the challenges they face. The same solutions that work in the city may not work out here. This agenda is a roadmap for how we can better provide rural Americans—whether they’re farmers or small business owners or community leaders—with the resources, services and healthcare they need to make our rural areas great places to live and work.”
— Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-07), Ranking Member, House Committee on Agriculture
“The Blue Dog Coalition's new rural agenda is not only a forward-looking and comprehensive economic plan for driving growth and opportunity to those left behind in rural America, but it also serves as an important blueprint for how Democrats can reconnect with communities outside of our nation's urban areas that have all but given up on both Washington and the party's ability to represent their longstanding needs.
"PPI commends the Blue Dogs for highlighting viable solutions to the significant issues facing our rural populations, like increasing access to affordable health care, especially by promoting telehealth; creating flexible career pathways outside of the four-year college model that equip workers with skills demanded by a changing economy; and connecting small businesses and entrepreneurs with global markets by expanding broadband access and reducing burdensome regulations."
— Will Marshall, President, Progressive Policy Institute (PPI)
“Our rural communities are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. Rural hospitals are often the first or second largest job creator in a rural area, and they spur economic growth while providing critical community care. Thank you to the Blue Dog Coalition’s Rural Task Force for recognizing the key role our rural providers play in the future of our rural communities and the economy.”
— National Rural Health Association (NRHA)