Midwestern Senators Seek Solutions for Rural Communities

Updated: February 12, 2020 10:29 PM

Four U.S. Senators from the Midwest, two Democrats and two Republicans, will come together in Washington Thursday to seek solutions for improving rural America's economy.

They'll be joined by advocates for rural health care, housing, and farmers, as well a representative from the Mayo Clinic, according to Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota), who is leading the Rural America Working Group.  Smith says she hopes to share solutions she's found on visits to small communities such as Ely and International Falls.

"There are lots of great partnerships between the public sector and the private sector that can really work and I'm interested in figuring out how the federal government can try to support that, maybe through some grants, maybe through some economic development loans," Smith told WDIO News.

Smith said the strongest communities have a diverse economic base.  While the group will share solutions that are working, they'll also be discussing challenges such as housing and internet speeds.

"This is something that I've been working on since I was lieutenant governor. If you're trying to recruit young families to a community or you're trying to recruit that physician with a trailing spouse to come in International Falls or Ely, you've got to have rural broadband," Smith said.

Other members of the group include Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota), and Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska).

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