(Maplewood, OH) – Rural Voices USA Board Chairman Christopher Gibbs released the following statement today on the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden and the challenges that lay ahead in bridging the rural-urban divide. Rural Voices USA is a nationwide network of rural leaders, farmers and business owners committed to furthering policies that rebuild rural America and support a new vision for a unified America.
“President Biden’s message of unity to a divided nation is welcome in rural America. Rural communities are ready to meet this moment as the United States of America. We are ready to, as President Biden called for to ‘start afresh’ and ‘to listen, hear and see one another.’ We are ready, in the lyrics President Biden cited today, to give our best for America.
“The next year will prove critical to whether we can bridge the rural-urban divide in our politics. Rural America badly needs a return to practical economic solutions on everything from COVID, to energy, to trade and health care. The vision the President Biden laid out includes policies badly needed in rural communities that have been battered by COVID and left behind economically for too long.
“Investing in infrastructure would create jobs and support the American supply chain which often starts on the farm. An immediate investment in COVID recovery, including vaccinations, would help safeguard processing plants and open small businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic. Committing to alternative energy sources would help guarantee that biofuels, like ethanol, will be part of a solution that both helps end our dependence on fossil fuels and supports our nation’s farmers.
“The key will be to ensure these legislative efforts are done in a way that doesn’t ignore the people they impact. To do that, we will need rural voices at the table. That is why, in the coming weeks, Rural Voices USA, will be announcing our plans for an expanded network of rural Americans dedicated to bridging the rural-urban political divide and supporting a new vision for a prosperous, unified America. Our network of rural community leaders, farmers, business owners and others will work to ensure that as we turn the page on a time when rural America was taken for granted and used as a political tool, we are given a meaningful seat at the table in Washington, D.C.”