In June, the White House announced the establishment of the White House Rural Council. At the time, the Obama Administration said, “while rural communities face challenges, they also present economic potential.”
It’s great to see rural communities get some attention. Although, of course, the Executive Order that formed the council has been met with a fair share of skepticism in online blogs. Several weeks after it was passed, it’s getting a considerable amount of attention now, as the President’s bus tour rolls through politically important and mostly rural Iowa.
“Sixteen percent of the American population lives in rural counties,” reports the Administration. “Strong, sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in the years ahead. These communities supply our food, fiber, and energy, safeguard our natural resources, and are essential in the development of science and innovation. Though rural communities face numerous challenges, they also present enormous economic potential. The Federal Government has an important role to play in order to expand access to the capital necessary for economic growth, promote innovation, improve access to health care and education, and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands."
Chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the White House Rural Council will coordinate programs across government to encourage public-private partnerships to promote further economic prosperity and quality of life in rural communities nationwide. It will also be responsible for providing recommendations for investment in rural areas.
“Rural America makes significant contributions to the security, prosperity, and economic strength of our country,” says Vilsack.
The goal of this publication is not to be a political blog, and "rural America" is certainly not exclusive to the Midwest. But I’m happy to see rural communities getting some attention. For a long time, the Midwest has been seen as “fly-over country,” as something to get through when traveling between A and B. Now it’s getting recognition as the source for some of the country's food and fuel.
For dealers serving rural communities, all of this attention — and hopefully the investment that’s being promised — bodes well for consumer confidence. What do you think?