Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood with local leaders at The Hub in Hamilton to announce her Rebuild Rural America Act, legislation that would invest $50 billion in rural economic development, infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and small businesses. The bill would address the challenges specific to rural America and make it easier for rural communities to access federal funding and other resources.
“New York’s rural communities face a variety of unique challenges, but too often, the federal government has failed to adequately support them,” said Senator Gillibrand. “My Rebuild Rural America Act will invest $50 billion into rural America to help communities build schools, expand child care access, catalyze private investment, train workers for in-demand jobs, and bolster critical infrastructure. I look forward to getting this legislation passed in the Farm Bill this year.”
“The Rebuild Rural America Act unites many of the issues that Senator Gillibrand fights for under one umbrella to directly impact our rural communities. As a municipal leader I am anxious to learn more about the federal and local partnerships planned and the ways we can work together for the betterment of our communities,“ said RuthAnn Loveless, Mayor of Hamilton.
“Senator Gillibrand’s bill, Rebuilding Rural America Act, is an important effort to bring much needed financial and technical support to rural communities like Hamilton and Madison County, as we work to overcome the demographic, economic and technological challenges of the 21st century. I strongly support this bill’s emphasis on forming regional partnerships, that will map strategies to increase the supply of affordable housing and attract the next generation of skilled workers and entrepreneurs. I look forward to working with Senator Gillibrand and our neighboring communities on these critical efforts,” stated Eve Ann Shwartz, Hamilton Town Supervisor.
“At Partnership for Community Development, we are at the front lines working to foster economic and community development in our region and we face the obstacles unique to the rural community on a daily basis. Senator Gillibrand’s legislation would create tools needed for rural communities to get past many of the hurdles that prevent growth,” said Jocelyn Gavitt, Executive Director of the Hamilton Partnership for Community Development.
Specifically, the Rebuild Rural America Act would:
- Establish a Rural Future Partnership Fund that would create a $50 billion block grant program for long-term rural economic development projects, including investments in child care centers, public schools, libraries, community centers, health care providers, workforce development programs, emergency preparedness programs, main street revitalization programs, and water and sewer facilities, among others. In contrast with existing funding opportunities, which often require arduous applications that recipients must reapply through each year, the fund would provide grantees with 5 years of guaranteed funding. This streamlined process would allow communities to make longer-term investments and would ease administrative burdens on local governments.
- Make it easier for rural communities to access federal funds and other resources by establishing a USDA Rural Innovation and Partnership Administration. This administration would work directly with local leaders to provide information on available federal resources, technical assistance, and cutting-edge data to help them craft and implement rural revitalization plans to make government helpful, not a hassle.
- Fight population loss from rural areas by launching the Rural Future Corps, a program that would place AmeriCorps Fellows in rural communities and help these communities expand critical services like child care, health, nutrition assistance, education, and job training. The program would also work to retain members in rural communities after their year of service.
- Empower local leaders, who know their communities best, to drive regional economic development through a new suite of national capacity and training programs to connect the expertise of national technical assistance providers with rural regions.