U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson will bring Washington to Springfield next week in a special field hearing geared to focusing the nation's attention on the unique challenges facing rural America.
The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development, which is chaired by Rep. Johnson, will conduct the hearing at the University of Illinois-Springfield to review the role of broadband access in rural economic development.
Please plan to attend or send a representative to this important and rare congressional field hearing. The hearing begins at noon, Saturday, Sept. 24, at the University of Illinois-Springfield Public Affairs Center.
In attendance will be U.S. Reps. Jim Costa, D-CA, Randy Hultgren, R-IL, Bobby Schilling, R-IL, Larry Kissell, D-N.C., Glenn Thompson, R-PA, and Johnson.
"The hearing will focus specifically on broadband availability and the deployment of USDA resources to make this occur most efficiently and economically," Rep. Johnson said. "But in the bigger picture, my hope is that we can help ignite the discussion of what our policies are doing to help or hinder rural America.
"Our young people, some of the best and brightest, are leaving the small communities in droves because of lack of opportunity. There are more deaths than births in many of these communities. There is pressure to consolidate and close schools, to close post offices that are the lifeblood of these towns. Big-box retailing has taken a tremendous toll throughout rural America.
"I've represented rural America throughout a long career in public service and I am well-aware of the vitality, values and work ethic ingrained in our small communities. We must do all we can to protect the institutions and way of life that has contributed so mightily to our nation's proud identity."