Sen. Amy Klobuchar released her “Plan from the Heartland” today, kicking off some time in Iowa with a speech at the Griffieon Family Farm in Ankeny, Iowa.
Klobuchar refers to the plan as an “optimistic economic agenda” to strengthen and protect the way of life in rural America.
“Kids that grow up in rural America should be able to live in rural America,” Klobuchar explained, adding that the goal of her plan is to, “bring back the respect for rural America.”
Taking Rural Seriously
Klobuchar’s policy plan, the full text of which is available on Medium, has four major pieces:
- Rural economic advancement
- Protecting a rural way of life
- Increasing conservation efforts
- Equality initiatives for rural areas
The Senator touched on each of these four pieces during her speech in Ankeny this morning, noting that it would take a considerable effort by the next president to make up for the damage done to rural America by the Trump Administration.
Klobuchar said that it was obvious that Donald Trump panders to farmers, promising to bring an economic boom to the agricultural economy, only to turn around and abuse that voting base with small refinery wavers and a massive trade war.
Being from a Midwest state, Klobuchar said she is, “not going to treat farmers like poker chips in a bankrupt casino.”
Most of Klobuchar’s plan is fairly straight forward. To provide economic development, she wants to protect farmers, promote export routes and provide small business opportunities for expansion.
Her plan to protect the rural way of life includes preserving rural hospitals and maintaining critical access hospitals, increasing mental health care, supporting public education in schools, expanding affordable housing and addressing energy costs.
Increasing conservation efforts manifests itself through creating tighter conservation laws, promoting workforce development for renewable energy, safeguarding federal lands and investing in solar and wind infrastructure.
Creating equality initiatives is probably the messiest part of the Plan from the Heartland, not because it isn’t detailed, but because it is aimed at addressing so many groups. This portion of the plan focuses on improving the lives of children in poverty, rural veterans, farmers facing bankruptcy, communities of color and native tribal groups.
Bridging Rural/Urban Divide
Sen. Klobuchar has made it clear on the trail that she believes she is the candidate best suited to close the gap between rural and urban communities. Not only does she plan to do this by bringing rural areas into the fold through infrastructure investment, she also hopes to bring more rural Americans into the political process so that they don’t feel left behind.
“It’s easy to go places where you get an applause for every talking point,” Klobuchar explained. “But we must go to places that it’s uncomfortable, as well.”
Klobuchar told a story about her husband, who was the third of six boys. His parents had had four boys, and wanted a daughter, so they decided to try for one more kid.
Instead of having a girl, they had a pair of identical twin boys, bringing them up to six sons. The boys were raised on humble means, but their parents found a way to take them on a vacation somewhere in the states every summer.
Klobuchar’s husband, John, being one of the middle children, was quiet and well-behaved, which often led to him blending in and going unnoticed amongst all the chaos
So, John’s parents came up with a tracking system to make sure all were accounted for every time they loaded up into their station wagon – counting off. Klobuchar said John’s parents have joked before that they only started the counting off because they were afraid they’d leave him behind at a gas station.
Klobuchar said this story is indicative of how she feels about taking care of rural America. Trying to keep everyone in America in the political fold is a tough job for legislators. But today, kicking off her tour to promote her rural Plan from the Heartland, Klobuchar made a commitment to those in attendance.
“I will not leave the Midwest behind at the gas station,” the Senator said, concluding her speech.
by Josh Cook