Obama to focus on rural America's economy
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the White House Thursday for the announcement of the new rural council. Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior and Melody Barnes, White House Domestic Policy Advisor will participate in the council.
June 9th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Obama to focus on rural America's economy

(Washington) CNN–Ahead of the 2012 election and amid more bad unemployment news, the Obama administration Thursday announced a new program to focus government resources building economic growth and the improving the quality of life in rural America. Nearly 60 million Americans, or just over 20 percent of the U.S. population, live in rural areas.

That's a big chunk of the electorate but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who will head the White House Rural Council, bristled when asked if the establishment of this program is to appeal to those rural voters. "[T]his is about the fact that so many folks in rural America have deep concerns about the future of rural America," Vilsack told reporters on a conference call Thursday.

Vilsack will coordinate the program that would bring all parts of the federal government and cabinet secretaries together to address job creation and economic development. "[It's] important to leverage and focus our resources within the federal government to know what the right hand is doing," said Vilsack.

To that end, Vilsack along with Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced they and other members of the president's cabinet would be traveling to rural areas, holding a series of workshops to hear from people who live in those communities and get their ideas on how to improve jobs and the economy. "

When you take the history of rural America over the last several decades, it has been a forgotten America," Salazar told reporters on the conference call. "This president has made sure it is not a forgotten America and we have been working on this agenda since day one."

Topics: 2012 Election • Economy • President Obama

Next entry »
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. John

    I am not sure what to make of the fact that he feels he hasn't been doing this until today.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • John

      Oh, soory, I see where it says he has been working on it since day 1 – I guess he is a failure...

      June 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  2. brnfream

    Obama needs to focus and packing up his family and moving out of the WH and leave America alone. He only has a year and a half to get it done and we know how long it takes him to decide things.

    June 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  3. julie sorensen

    Although an avid supporter of President Obama’s (until recently), I feel compelled to share my frustration with the irony of this initiative. I work at a rural health research center, one of seven rural research centers scattered throughout the U.S. that focuses on reducing the rate of work-related deaths and injuries among farmers, fishermen and forestry workers. These three industries represent THE most dangerous industries in the U.S. The average fisherman is 100 times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker, the average farmer is 8 times more likely. Foresters fall somewhere in between. Despite the fact that this is the only federal effort to assist these people, despite the fact that high percentages of this work-force are self-employed and thus, uninsured and despite the fact that program activities associated with these centers have been identified in a CDC list of the ten greatest public health achievements from 2001-2010, the program has been targeted for termination in President Obama’s 2012 budget. Not a reduction in funding, but absolute termination. What this will mean is considerable lay-offs for the individuals working in these rural research centers, as well as the eradication of health and prevention resources for populations with the greatest need. Although I doubt that Agricultural Secretary will call me to ask me my opinion on where to start with this new initiative, I am prepared to give him a few ideas. The first would be to encourage the administration to put its money where its mouth is.

    Julie Sorensen
    NIOSH Agricultural, Forestry and Fishing Program
    Regional Research Center

    June 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • John

      I am sure I am speaking for many of when I say we appreciate your honest input. But, this administration holds a grudge. I am not sure it was a good idea signing this note.

      June 10, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • wrong facts

      What Money? we're in debt.

      June 10, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  4. tompro97

    Just more smoke and mirrors and billions wasted on another idiotic federal program. Osama is getting desperate now and will do or try anything to get re-elected. This will fail just like everything else his regime has done.

    June 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  5. maikl

    Thanks president Obama. Thank you for change which i don't see,but price for gas I feel,food price i feel, budget our USA -thank to you,job all over,just take it. Vacation my family not get many years,but you and family so many time. Thank to You. I have 2 girl,but I cannot afford it. Now you going to do something for rural area. The best what you can do them and for everybody to resin. Thanks.

    June 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Lowery

      You know when I read such comments as yours, I get a sick feeling someone is pointing fingers at the wrong guy. All of which we are dealing with came from the years of surplus and the few years of mismanagement of that surplus. Honestly, we will not know the damage President Obama could, has, or will cause until he has left office, just like the President prior to him. But understand this crying over jobs, there have been plenty made, those jobs aren't hiring anyone because they have found out that they can work with a smaller workforce but get the same results and save money. Taxes were due to be raised wheter we liked it or not. The price of gas...he isn't the oil guy I will say that much. If I remember correctly he was trying to put a $2.00 cap on the oil industry but Congress (the big oil) knocked it down.

      June 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  6. Commenter33

    No, this president has not forgotten this segment of America. In fact, he labeled constituents of these rural areas as "churchgoing gun-nuts" just a couple of years ago.

    June 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  7. afhcpoobah

    so ......It's a working rural vacation where they will ask people how to create jobs and improve the economy??IT NEVER ceases to amaze me just how stupid THEY think we are !!!!! Working on it since day one B*&($!!&, IT WOULDN'T take me a week to get several balls rolling!!! [take that anyway you want] THEY have done absolutely nothing to spur on the economy NOTHING they sat idly by and did not one thing to jump start the economy !!!!!!SHOVEL READY ?????? 1. MISSISSIPPI river dikes and dams..........2 build a better border 3 nix the tax breaks 4 solar and wind farms 5 trans-continent high speed rail system 6 secure the funds from the senate retirement system and begin to pay back soc.sec. 7 more cow bells 8 close all overseas bases and bring them home,QUICKLY just a few quick thoughts how bout you ???????????????

    June 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  8. afhcpoobah

    DOMESTIC POLICY ADVISER???????????? 'OH you go have a good time ,relax we got this" economic recovery ?? "give it time it will work itself out" JOBS ????

    June 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  9. afhcpoobah

    IT IS LAUGHABLE ..................BUT WHY AM I CRYING ???????

    June 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  10. robert

    *If any other of our presidents had doubled the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?*

    *If any other of our presidents had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved? *

    *If any other of our presidents had criticized a state law that he admitted he never even read, would you think that he is just an ignorant hot head? *

    *If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was on? *

    *If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps like Marine Corpse, would you think him an idiot? *

    *If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed? *

    *If any other of our presidents had used a forged document as the basis of the moratorium that would render 87,000 American workers unemployed would you support him? *

    *If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need a Teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes? *

    *If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take his First Lady to a play in NYC, would you have approved? *

    *If any other of our presidents had reduced your retirement plan holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved? *

    *If any other of our presidents had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved? *

    *If any other of our presidents had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved? *

    *If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud moment for America ? *

    *If any other of our presidents had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia would you have approved? *

    *If any other of our presidents had visited Austria and made reference to the nonexistent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip? *

    *If any other of our presidents had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved? *

    *If any other of our presidents had stated that there were 57 states in the United States , wouldn't you have had second thoughts about his capabilities? *

    *If any other of our presidents would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking out his front door in his home town, would you not have thought he was a self-important, conceited, egotistical jerk. *

    *If any other of our presidents had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, wouldn't you have winced in embarrassment? *

    *If any other of our presidents had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?*

    *If any other of our presidents' administrations had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11? *

    *If any other of our presidents had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence? *

    *If any other of our presidents had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America , would you have ever approved. *

    *If any other of our presidents had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved? *

    *So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? *

    *Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in 24 months - so you have that much time to come up with an answer.*

    June 10, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • wrong facts

      All politician are the same. Just happy we're not losing over 700,000 jobs per month and stock market is not losing 100's of points per day. Both parties need to learn the word COMPRIMISE (which Repubs seem to have a hard time with)

      June 10, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • John

      If people haven't noticed, the Libs and lame stream media has this guy on a grading curve. The worse he does the lower the bar of expectation goes...

      June 10, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • R

      so many letters/words so less sense, amazing

      June 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • jean2009

      Reagan tripled the national debt the eight years he was in office.

      Reagan's massive $749 billion supply-side tax cuts in 1981 resulted in massive annual deficits, and during that time he increased military spending resulting in even more record deficits. He didn't deliver on the balanced budget he had promised, and was forced to increase taxes twice to avert a financial melt down. When he left office he had managed to equal the debt burden produced over the previous 200 years of American history.

      Then Bush doubled it again. He arrived inheriting a federal budget in the black and a CBO forecast for $5.6 trillion surplus over 10 years and what did he do he dismantled the gains Clinton had made. He gave a $1.4 tax cut mainly favoring the wealthy in 2001, and repeated with a $550 billion second round in 2003. George Bush increased the national debt by $1.2 trillion and forced the debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion

      The rest of your moronic rant can be found on many sites; and it is basically a non-starter for being either factual or true.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  11. DGeneric

    Rural Americans take care of themselves! We do not rely on "government" to sort out our issues, we rely on one another, and something the "city" folks have "forgotten", self-reliance, community and PRIDE!!!

    June 10, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • jean2009

      Really! ...pardon me while I laugh. I just read an USDA article about rural areas receiving block grants which stated that rural areas benefit more from federal aid than metropolitan areas.

      Actually, currently it costs taxpayers more capital to provide some services like high-speed internet to rural areas than it costs to provide the same service to metropolitan areas; plus several other services cost more to provide to rural than to metropolitan areas.

      Are you old enough to remember the term RFD...Rural Free Delivery? It is before my time, but I remember grandparents talking about it. That is when rural farm folk had a RFD address. People living in rural areas sent their mail for free (no postage stamp required) which was so they wouldn't need to make a trip to town to pick up their mail or buy stamps....and the higher percentage of people living in metropolitan areas taxes paid the cost.

      June 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
      • Bill in STL

        Funny, the ers of the usda says this,, as of 12/16/2010

        ERS analysis of Federal funding shows that most of Federal funding comes in the form of payments to individuals for social security, retirement, Medicare and Medicaid, farm payments, federal procurement and salaries, and expenditures on national defense and other national functions. Moreover, these programs are not distributed equally across the country. For example, Social Security provides more funding, per capita, in the farming-intensive central portions of the country, due to the concentration of older people in these rural areas.

        June 12, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  12. Ray E. Georgia

    What the H do we need another Curley,Larry, and Moe for. Maybe because Shemp is in the White House? Rome is burning to the ground and these people are spouting the offical line. Any more bright ideas?

    June 10, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  13. R

    I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about rural economy – some mix it up with existing rural research, others dont have anything substantial about the topic but just keep blabbering their talking points against the president. I think this is a sure indication of the talent that President Obama is and why he received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Rural economy is fundamental to peoples overall development and future

    June 10, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Bill in STL

      If this president gets involved in teh rural economy then we are in deep trouble! milk is over 4.35 a gallon and he has not even started yet

      June 12, 2011 at 6:19 am |
      • jean2009

        I bought a gallon of milk this morning locally it is $3.28.

        June 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        locally? on the internet?

        June 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
      • jean2009

        Milk where I live (which is locally to me) is currently $3.28 a gallon and gasoline $3.51.9 a gallon.

        Of course, we can all remember when it was a lot less...and when it was more.

        June 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  14. Wayne

    Obama, please go home. You are out of touch with middle America. You do not have a clue on how to fix it. The entire world is falling to pieces. We are out of relationship with all of our financial allies because we can not be trusted and are teetering on default at every corner. The US dollar is going away, US companies are fleeing to places wgere they can make a profit. It's obvious that you have no good answers. We are sick of your twisted rhetoric. Tell it like it is without the sugar coating otherwise you trustworthyness ranks with Weiner's

    June 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • jean2009

      Whoa are you out of touch. He's is in touch with middle America, it was the last jerk and all his rich friends that wasn't.

      June 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  15. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @robert, most of that stupid laundry list of comparisons you just sat up there and etched out on this blog could and was attributed to ALL of your other presidents! We just didn't hear about it. The media didn't make a 3 to 4 day news cycle out of everytime those other presidents went to the washroom, sneezed or blew his nose! They were CHARGED by their owners, managers, directors and even sponsors to be sure to respect THE US PRESIDENT, whether they like him or not! He was at LEAST 'one of us'! OBAMA? NO!

    June 11, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  16. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Lowery; you get it! Compared to your SICK feeling, mine's probably worse! I get an 'ANGRY' feeling! 'To whom much is given, much is required'! Obama understands that! He's said he, himself is even one who 'gives' more and would be willing to pay higher taxes to the system to get the country moving again! The GOP/some DEMS, and the rest of the greedy will never accept a stran of hair being touched on the head of an oil mogul nor a 'Bush tax cut recipient' to 'fix' America, nothing or no one! They're corrupt!

    June 19, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  17. Leticia

    I've now been in 57 states I think one left to go. at a capmiagn event in Beaverton, Oregon. When taking out UBL and passing a healthcare program (that 70% of Americans hate) are the only things you can run on How can Clinton not take a run at this guy?

    May 22, 2012 at 6:02 am |