Friday, March 13, 2009

Perriello: Office of Rural Policy. Danville Paper Applauds.

A couple days ago Rep. Perriello sent out a press release in which he called on the Obama Administration to create an Office of Rural Policy. The administration announced earlier the creation of an Office of Urban Policy, and Perriello and the congressional Rural Caucus, comprised of 40 other bipartisan Representatives, wrote a letter to Obama to create its rural counterpart. Saith the letter:
“The unique policy matters faced in rural America include, but are not limited to, specific concerns regarding agriculture, conservation, economic development, education, health care, information technology, and transportation infrastructure, among others. We are sure your administration would benefit from an office devoted to the effect of federal regulations on rural Americans and our communities ...”
Rep. Perriello's money quote:
“An Office of Rural Policy would be an effective way to make sure rural areas have a seat at the table when it comes to national policy,” said Perriello. “I’m pleased to join with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle who understand what rural America needs and what it has to offer to the rest of the country.”
The Danville Register & Bee picked up the story, and the editorial board applauded:
It’s easy for most Americans to discount the problems — and potential — of rural America. That’s because most Americans live in cities and suburbs, not rural communities.

To many of them, rural America is “flyover country” or “the sticks."
If an Office of Rural Policy will do on the national level what’s been done here in Virginia for rural issues and concerns, it will be well worth the effort.

It’s important for Washington to understand rural communities. Our issues, problems and potential deserve no less.

I haven't lived in rural Virginia long, but it was quickly apparent how more urban areas of Virginia, and I imagine those nation-wide, get all of the attention and the love. Developing an Office of Rural Policy that respects, understands, and fights for the issues that matter to us is crucial. Otherwise, to use a state-issue as an example, the NoVa's of the country get all of the money for their traffic problems, and the RoVa's get stuck with the bill.

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