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Hickenlooper Campaign Press Release - John Hickenlooper Releases His Plan for Rural America

June 07, 2019

DENVER, CO - Today, former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper released "A Plan for Rural America." The plan includes policies to increase access to healthcare, support our country's agriculture industry, and strengthen all rural economic development. Most notably, Hickenlooper would make the largest investment in rural broadband in our nation's history, and he would ban advertising of addictive painkillers to help combat the opioid crisis that has devastated so many rural communities. The Governor would also expand nationally Colorado's Rural Jump-Start program by creating 'Entrepreneurial Opportunity Zones,' which will provide incentives for entrepreneurs and workers in rural and distressed areas to start new business or expand their existing ones. (full plan here).

"When I ran for Governor, I promised to bring all of Colorado back from the recession - not just the urban areas but our rural communities too - and I became the first Denver mayor to be elected governor in over 100 years," said Hickenlooper. "Today, Colorado's 64 counties all have broadband access. We saved over a dozen rural hospitals from closure. We brought the state together to create a sustainable water plan. Two-thirds of Colorado's rural counties rank in the top quarter for employment growth of all rural US counties, and nearly 83% of Colorado rural counties rank in the top half."

"As President, I will ensure federal resources support the economic, community and workforce development strategies of each rural community. We need to build on each area's distinctive assets and address challenges at the local level rather than impose one-size-fits-all strategies."

Hickenlooper first discussed his plan with Iowa's Lee News, which owns the Cedar Rapids Gazette and newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Mason City, Muscatine, Fairfield, Mount Pleasant and Washington. The Governor stated the he believes the Trump administration's tariff war may be "hurting us to another farm crisis" and proposed a trade policy that "?will ensure more growth, opportunity, and fairness for the American people." (full article)

Hickenlooper's 'Plan for Rural America' would:

1. Make the Largest Investment in Rural Broadband in Recent History: As President, Hickenlooper will fund $20 billion dollars to expand broadband access across the country. This would include $10 billion dollars specifically for the USDA's Rural Utilities Service fund to directly deploy broadband access.

2. Increase Access to Capital, Business Development Resources: Governor Hickenlooper would increase the capacity of rural banks to make loans by raising the federal loan guarantee to 90% of the loan value, while also working to decrease the red tape for lenders. In a Hickenlooper Administration, the Rural Development program will also have expanded capacity to deploy staff "on the ground," providing guidance on grant and loan applications, helping build public-private partnerships, and cutting through red tape so communities get what they need and how they work.

3. Strengthen Rural Workforce Development and Talent Attraction: Hickenlooper is passionate about serving the two-thirds of Americans who won't obtain a four-year college degree.The numbers are even starker in our rural communities, where only 1 in 5 adults is a college graduate. President Hickenlooper will make community college free for all Americans who can't afford it, and he will scale Colorado's successful CareerWise program, which offers high school students the opportunity to apprentice with all types of businesses, from banking to manufacturing, while earning college credit (at no cost to the students) and a paycheck (earning thousands of dollars in wages by the time students graduate)

4. Create Entrepreneurial Opportunity Zones: Based on the Colorado Rural Jump-Start program, Hickenlooper has proposed a new national program of Entrepreneurial Opportunity Zones, which will provide incentives for entrepreneurs and workers in rural and distressed areas by providing tax relief to new businesses and new hires of these businesses.

5. Expand Workforce, Talent Attraction Efforts: In conjunction with his plan to cut student loan rates on all federal loans to 2.5%,Hickenlooper will establish a coordinated program of student loan forgiveness initiatives that build on existing programs, to require 2-5 years of full-time work in communities of high-need working in high-impact fields like healthcare, teaching and legal work.

6. Create Collaborative Community Hubs: As part of Hickenlooper's Infrastructure Plan to enhance our communities and bring green jobs, he will support the construction and development of community buildings in our small towns - recognizing that having a community hub is so vital for our small towns

7. End the Tariff War: Unlike President Trump, and even some Democrats, Governor Hickenlooper supports free and fair trade, and would seek multilateral trade agreements that are so vital to the health of our nation's farmers.

8. Combat the Opioid Crisis with New National Programs: Hickenlooper would create a grant program for training of first responders to deal with overdoses and to provide them with the lifesaving drug Naloxone. He would also create a national prescription drug buyback and disposal program, ban advertising of addictive opioid painkillers and require Medicaid and insurers to cover rehabilitation services, among other measures.

John Hickenlooper, Hickenlooper Campaign Press Release - John Hickenlooper Releases His Plan for Rural America Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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