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Rural Matters

Aug 16, 2021

This seven-minute Rural Matters Bonus Brief brings Michelle and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack together again for a discussion on how the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed on August 10th in the U.S. Senate will benefit rural communities. “For rural America, this is a very important day. Expanded access to broadband, improved infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, (there is) a lot to like about this bill,” Secretary Vilsack shared.  

They also discuss how this bill addresses the issues that face rural communities in the face of our current climate crisis.  Secretary Vilsack relates how the significant investment in expanded access to broadband will assist rural farmers with precision agriculture, helping them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make their farming more efficient.  In addition, he mentions how the bill’s focus on greater resiliency in the face of a changing climate will help rural communities through adapting to drought, and mitigating the impacts of wildfires.

Secretary Vilsack and Michelle continue by discussing how improving transportation infrastructure will benefit rural America, allowing for efficiency in an export-dominated economy, as well as how improved public transportation systems will help rural residents access health care and schooling. 

Lastly, they cover how the new infrastructure bill will focus on the importance of eliminating lead in rural America’s drinking water.  “This bill... addresses a problem that has been with us for far too long... So that when we turn on the tap, regardless of where we are turning it on, we have the peace of mind, and assurance that the water we are going to consume, and our families are going to consume, and our children will consume at schools is safe.,” said Secretary Vilsack.

For more discussions on President Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan and how it relates to rural communities, click the links below for previous Rural Matters Bonus Briefs with Biden-Harris Administration officials Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Chief Science Officer of COVID Response Dr. David Kessler, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers Heather Boushey, NIH Director Francis Collins, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh.