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Rural Blog: Rep. Hal Rogers joins Democrat in filing bipartisan bill recreating abolished rural council

Two House members from Appalachian districts carried by Donald Trump have filed a bipartisan bill to restore the White House Rural Council, which the president disbanded soon after taking office.

Rep. Hal Rogers

Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright of eastern Pennsylvania’s 8th District and Republican Rep. Hal Rogers of eastern Kentucky’s 5th District said in a joint press release that their legislation “would create new economic opportunities in rural areas.” They dubbed it the Transforming Hiring in Rural Industries and Vital Economies (THRIVE) Act.

“At a time when urban issues get plenty of attention, it’s our responsibility to make sure small towns don’t get left behind,” Cartwright said. “This bill directs federal dollars toward critical projects to improve health care services, expand broadband internet access, assist small businesses and strengthen schools.”

Rogers, a former Appropriations Committee chair, said “This bill ensures that rural America is not an afterthought and has a prominent voice in Washington. . . . This legislation will bring together key decision-makers to prioritize rural needs and make sure federal investments are having the best impact possible in the areas that need it most.”

Among the programs overseen by the Rural Council was the Livable Communities Initiative, which supported small towns’ efforts to improve transportation and develop housing. The council also worked with the Department of Education to provide online educational resources for teachers and students in rural communities and started a water-quality initiative “to work with farmers to improve conservation of working lands and ensure they can be used for years to come,” the release said.

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

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