Letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives


Letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Investing in rural infrastructure will improve quality of life, create jobs

Today Rep. Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek) sent a letter to U.S. House Leaders urging them to ensure that significant funding from the planned economic stimulus package is invested in America's rural communities.

"This economic crisis has hit rural areas just as hard, if not harder, than any segment of the economy," said Schauer. "By making significant investments in the upcoming economic stimulus package to maintain and upgrade infrastructure in rural communities, we can jump-start local economies and create jobs."

Rep. Schauer has joined nineteen of his freshman colleagues in an effort to build political force behind rural relief and to underscore the importance of long-term investment in rural communities. The full text of today's letter is available below.

--
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

January 13, 2009

Dear Madam Speaker,

As the 111th Congress begins, we of the freshmen class strongly urge you to consider the many ways in which rural communities can benefit from the national economic recovery and reinvestment plan. Rural areas are among the hardest hit in these tough economic times, and with this economic recovery plan we have an opportunity to provide necessary aid to these communities. We need to ensure that the funding streams contain formulas which make certain that money is funneled directly to rural America. If the funds go through the State, then State governments must be required to allocate equitable portions to rural areas.

The infrastructure of rural economies is in crisis. The economic recovery and reinvestment plan must invest significantly in maintaining and upgrading infrastructure in rural and other distressed communities, which will create local jobs. Among other viable options, the quality of life in rural America can be improved by expanding broadband technology, public transportation, and water and sewage systems.

Rural development funds should also be allocated to benefit local schools, police and fire stations, hospitals and community centers. The USDA reported that rural counties with high educational levels saw more rapid earnings and income growth over the past two decades than counties with lower educational levels. Failure to invest in education may offset or diminish the benefits realized through other investments. Moreover, funding for hospitals and rural and community health care centers is essential because of the enormous responsibility placed on rural family doctors. Because rural areas lack the population base to support many specialty practices, rural physicians are frequently called upon to treat patients across a wide range of specialties.

Assistance to education, health care and other programs is critical if we want all Americans to benefit from this economic recovery and reinvestment plan. Rural communities comprise about 50 million Americans and approximately 75% of our nation's land area. The needs of rural Americans must be directly addressed in this bill if we are to succeed in curbing the economic downturn and improving the lives of everyday Americans.

Please join us in standing with Majority Whip Clyburn to advocate for rural interests and to ask that rural communities be included in the upcoming economic recovery plan.

Sincerely,

Betsy Markey
Member of Congress

Harry Teague
Member of Congress

Eric Massa
Member of Congress

Martin Heinrich
Member of Congress

Dan Maffei
Member of Congress

Walt Minnick
Member of Congress

Tom Perriello
Member of Congress

Kathy Dahlkemper
Member of Congress

Larry Kissell
Member of Congress

Debbie Halvorson
Member of Congress

Paul Tonko
Member of Congress

Jared Polis
Member of Congress

Chellie Pingree
Member of Congress

Mark Schauer
Member of Congress

Ann Kirkpatrick
Member of Congress

Parker Griffith
Member of Congress

Ben Luján
Member of Congress

Frank Kratovil
Member of Congress

John Boccieri
Member of Congress

Steve Driehaus
Member of Congress