Minnesota Congresswoman Introduces Bill to Create Office of Rural Prosperity
Currently, there are more than 400 federal programs dedicated to helping rural communities spread out across 13 departments and 50 different offices. Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig is looking to streamline services with a bill to create an Office of Rural Prosperity.
“Really, there is no central hub for what’s happening in Rural America right now across this government. And, you know, we’ve seen over the years that drain of demographics and of course, that means that rural communities have seen such a decline in people living there and I just, I think now is the time to really re envision what Rural America can look like.”
The office would be established at the White House and led by a Chief Rural Advisor to coordinate investments being made in the American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and future legislation aimed at Rural America.
“I think that having the office in the White House, to help adjudicate when these disagreements come up between agencies and departments, and frankly, to make sure that we’re not duplicating work throughout the federal government. I see this truly is something that’s going to save the country money, and it’s going to help us be more effective and efficient with our rural development.”
Congresswoman Craig also serves on the select committee on economic disparity, fairness, and growth and says it’s important to help spread the word about what is available to support communities.
“I certainly see this office is something that could help both market the programs, make sure that there is appropriate resources and guidance to be able to apply particularly for those grant programs that would help Rural America and rural areas.”
With challenges like high food and energy prices facing Rural America right now, she is focused on renewable energy as an opportunity to create jobs, support farmers, and help work towards energy independence.
“I think we need to think about how do we transition ourselves to more renewable energy and, you know, I look at the corn that’s going to be growing in Minnesota here in a few months and the soybeans and I say that is part of the here and doubt and part of the solution and we need to make sure that we’re holding strong to the renewable fuel standard. And this is also obviously a huge way that we can build economic development in Rural America.”
The legislation also calls for the formation of a Rural Prosperity Council made up of federal department heads to better coordinate a whole of government effort for Rural America.