March 11, 2008

Hillary's Plan for Rural America

As one who lives in a small rural town in Nevada, I see the desperate need for good jobs, decent health care and thriving local businesses. Hillary has shown that she can deliver for rural upstate New York. I trust that she can do the same for the rest of us. Here is her plan.

Hillary has a vision for rebuilding rural communities to ensure that opportunities are available and people can still achieve the American dream.

At the core of Hillary's vision is her strong support for family farms. Hillary understands that vertical integration is affecting every aspect of our food and fuel production. She knows that we can preserve family farms by offering greater opportunities for farmers to sell their produce. From renewable energy to building more direct-to-consumer markets, to investing in conservation efforts, Hillary will build more avenues for our farmers and ranchers to stay in business and pass along their operations to the next generation.

Hillary also believes that there are many other opportunities to create good jobs and improve key services in rural areas. Production of biofuels, wind power, and other clean energy sources offers enormous potential to create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and reduce the growing threat of global warming. Her health care plan will cover all Americans, and her education plan will help recruit more teachers to rural America.

To realize her vision for rural America, as president Hillary will:

  1. Create a Strategic Energy Fund that would inject $50 billion into research, development and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency, ethanol, and other homegrown biofuels.
  2. Expand access to capital and strategic advice for rural entrepreneurs and small businesses and bring together businesses, community colleges, and four-year universities to ensure workers have the training needed to compete in the global economy.
  3. Ensure that we get broadband to rural Americans who don't have access now.
    Hillary will strengthen tax incentives for extending broadband to underserved areas and support state and local broadband initiatives to expand wireless
    technologies and high-speed fiber optics.
  4. Enact her American Health Choices Plan, a plan to provide affordable, high
    quality health care for all Americans.
  5. Fight vertical integration, which has crippled American agriculture, by
    establishing mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for all U.S. products; pushing for a ban on packer ownership of livestock; having her Justice Department investigate agriculture consolidations; and ensure that the small- and medium-sized producers compete on level playing field with corporate
  6. Target our commodity payment programs so that family farms -- not corporate farms -- are the key beneficiaries. Hillary favors closing loopholes that disproportionately benefit wealthy corporate farmers and those who do not directly take part in the operations or management of their farms. Hillary also supports establishing a permanent disaster program to assure producers aid will be there when they need it most.
  7. Work to expand market opportunities for farmers through innovative, direct-to-consumer marketing and niche markets to provide U.S. farmers with more
    options for selling their products. Hillary will work to expand farmers' markets, provide value-added marketing grants, and create food distribution opportunities for farmers from across the country to earn more for their hard
  8. Expand and enhance conservation programs in the Farm Bill and support carbon credit trading for producers who incorporate environmentally friendly farming practices.

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