RCAP is among the organizations and groups that sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Jan. 14 asking him to affirm his administration's commitment to rural America as he prepares for his annual State of the Union Address on Feb. 12.
"We ask that in your address, you publicly commit to working with Congress to reauthorize a filll five-year Farm Bill in a way that revitalizes the rural communities that form the backbone of our heartland," the letter reads.
RCAP, along with 18 other groups, is a signatory to the letter.
The full text of the letter follows:
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
During your reelection campaign, you wrote that "strong and prosperous small towns and rural communities mean a strong and prosperous America," and we couldn't agree more. Unfoliunately, rural communities across America continue to be affected by the economic downturn and decades of federal policies that have underserved small towns and rural counties. Many rural Americans lack access to basic necessities, like clean drinking water, sanitary sewers, local healthcare facilities, affordable housing, and adequate fire and police protection. Even more lack access to capital, broadband and business development opportunities needed to compete in the global economy.
So, as you prepare for your upcoming State of the Union Address, we ask you to reaffirm your Administration's commitment to rural America. We ask that in your address, you publicly commit to working with Congress to reauthorize a full five-year Farm Bill in a way that revitalizes the rural communities that form the backbone of our heartland.
A strong and robust Rural Development Title is critical to ensuring that rural entrepreneurs have access to the credit they need; that small-town utilities can continue to provide affordable water and sewer services to local residents; that small towns can build facilities essential for public health and safety; that small family farms can grow and thrive; and that every American has access to sustainable and affordable high-speed broadband internet.
Last Congress, the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill with strong bipartisan support. However, the House failed to enact its version, despite strong bipartisan support on the Agriculture Committee. Presidential leadership is crucial to getting the bill across the finish line so that small-town business owners, mayors, and county and community leaders have access to the tools they need to rebuild, re-energize, and revitalize their local economies, and sustain investments they've made in broadband and other infrastructure.
We thank you for your efforts to date in establishing the White House Rural Council, and look forward to working with the Council, your Administration, and Congress to pass a five-year Farm Bill reauthorization that creates jobs in rural America, protects the health and safety of rural residents, and improves the quality of life in rural communities.
Rural Community Assistance Partnership
American Association of Community Colleges
American Planning Association
American Public Works Association
Catholic Rural Life Conference
Center for Rural Affairs
Council of State Community Development Agencies
National Association of Conservation Districts
National Association of Counties
National Association of Development Organizations
National Association of Regional Councils
National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils
National Center for Frontier Communities
National League of Cities
National Rural Health Association
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
Partners for Rural America
Rural Coalition/Coalicion Rural
cc: Secretary Tom Vii sack
cc: Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager
cc: Doug McKalip, White House Rural Council