Gillibrand 2020
August 7, 2019


Gillibrand’s “Rebuilding Rural America for Our Future” agenda puts power back in the hands of rural Americans to advance solutions to drive our economy, tackle climate change, and fix our broken health care system 

Today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced her “Rebuilding Rural America for Our Future” agenda as she travels to Iowa for a five-day RV trip across the state. Senator Gillibrand’s innovative plan will work to build a rural America that can thrive for the next 100 years and beyond. 

Full details of the plan are HERE. 

“Our rural communities harness our nation’s natural resources that supply our food, energy, and clean water. These communities reflect the diversity that makes America strong and are full of innovators and problem solvers ready to lead our country into the future. It’s time we uplift rural Americans and treat these communities like the national assets they are,” said Senator Gillibrand. 

“The American people deserve a president who fights for every inch of this country, and rural America is no exception. As president, I will always value the contributions of rural communities, and invest in their grit and ingenuity to rebuild a partnership for our shared future,” Gillibrand continued. 

First reported by the Des Moines Register, Gillibrand's new plan earned the praise of Tom Vilsack, former Iowa Governor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, who said: "Unique to her plan is how she has woven the element of partnership into every aspect of a comprehensive vision for a powerful rural economy and an improved quality of community life."

Senator Gillibrand’s plan would provide rural communities with the support they deserve to reinvigorate economies that have been left behind, make sure that farmers are recognized for their role in our national security and prioritize the health, safety, and opportunity for Americans living in rural communities. 

Rebuilding Rural America for Our Future would:

  • Establish a $50 billion Rural Future Partnership Fund at the USDA to build resilient rural regions through a multi-year, flexible, formula block grants to empower local leaders to develop and implement comprehensive revitalization strategies, putting the power to create change into the hands of the communities themselves — like Storm Lake and Mason City, Iowa, Laconia and Claremont, New Hampshire, Ogdensburg and Batavia, New York and their surrounding rural areas. This funding could be used for comprehensive investment in community needs like water lines, affordable housing, child care services, public education and job training, long-term care, and health care, including mental health and addiction treatment.
  • Launch a cooperative business initiative to work with communities, business owners, and workers to address gaps in community services and economic opportunity through the proven value of co-ops. 
    • Co-ops can build local wealth and quality of life by enabling rural Americans to address challenges like inadequate child care, homecare, housing, and high-speed internet service or keeping local grocery stores open. 
    • Gillibrand would create a White House Council on a Cooperative Economy to ensure all federal loan, contracting, and technical assistance programs are accessible by cooperatives and will significantly increase support to cooperative development by fully funding the Rural Cooperative Development Program at $40 million per year.
  • Invest in an entrepreneurial, creative economy to energize a new generation of rural innovators. 
    • Work with the Farm Credit system to scale the number of Rural Business Investment Companies.
    • Create a Rural RISE initiative to provide capital, mentorship, and networking so more entrepreneurs can turn an idea into a company.  
    • Create a new $250 million Partnership for Creative Rural Economies to tap into the tremendous economic development potential of rural arts, food, and cultural heritage to make our rural communities places young people want to live. 
  • Invest $60 billion to connect all rural Americans to high-speed Internet, including next generation gigabit systems.
    • Create a Digital Extension Service to advise and assist farmers, rural entrepreneurs, and community leaders in adopting digital technologies for precision agriculture, e-commerce, telemedicine, high-tech manufacturing, and opportunities for attracting remote workers as new residents.
  • Create a $750 million Rural Tech Skills initiative to fund training partnerships between community colleges, community-based and labor organizations, and employers to prepare the rural workforce for tech jobs across industries like clean energy, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and health IT. 

Farmers and Rural Communities Will Build the New Green Sustainable Economy the Nation Requires

  • Put farmers and rural communities in the driver’s seat to lead the nation’s climate action. 
    • Farmers should receive support from USDA to develop new practices that put carbon back into their soils, reduce inputs, and limit nutrient loss.  
      • New insurance protections 
      • Improved CSP and EQIP program funding and options - 
      • Scientists partnering with farmers 
      • Bio-based manufacturing 
      • New energy infrastructure to power farms
      • Sustainable forest management
  • Prioritize the interests of our farmers ahead of agribusinesses. 
    • Maintain and expand access to markets here at home and abroad for producers of all sizes. 
    • Helping farmers who want to diversify to better serve regional markets and minimize volatility caused by export centered production. 
    • Prioritize making the Farmers’ Bill of Rights a reality. Corporate influence and money have corrupted our nation’s farm and food policies for too long.

Protecting the Health of Rural America 

  • Invest in rural health infrastructure like hospitals and clinics and build capacity with innovative delivery systems that best meet the needs of rural communities - like basic transportation, telehealth, and remote patient monitoring.  
    • Empower healthcare professionals in rural health clinics to practice to the top of their license in areas like telehealth and mental health services. 
    • Rural health clinics would be designated as distant site providers for telehealth services under Medicare to allow for more health professionals to use this important healthcare tool.
  • Lift up and empower rural communities to tailor home and community-based approaches to health and wellness that puts control back in the individual’s hands, not with insurance companies and healthcare corporations. 
    • Prioritize preparing our healthcare networks and providers from the ground up to meet the needs of rural populations. 
    • Align training and education systems around informing health professionals by putting them directly into rural communities.
  • Invest in community-based grant programs aimed towards promoting rural healthcare services, such as the Rural Health Outreach Grant Program. 
    • This is the only federal rural health care program that allows communities to use these funds based on their community needs. 
    • Rural communities also deal with racial and ethnic health disparities, and in some cases you find even greater disparities within rural populations. 
  • Modernize payment structures for rural hospitals and health clinics. 
    • Reform rural healthcare workforce policies with more flexibility for health professionals in rural settings and make health professionals eligible for reimbursement for those services as well.