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Skelton urges President Obama to listen to concerns of rural America
Skelton urges President Obama to listen to concerns of rural America

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 5, 2009) — Today, Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) joined other members of the Bipartisan Congressional Rural Caucus in inviting the President to personally visit rural communities across the country. In June, the Administration announced it would launch a “Rural Tour” so that Cabinet secretaries and advisors to the President can learn first hand the unique priorities of rural America.

“I was pleased to learn of the Administration’s rural tour. It will serve the President’s advisors well. But, I believe the President would be wise to participate in the tour as well. It would give him a better understanding of how proposed policies in Washington might impact Americans living in small towns and farms,” said Skelton.

The letter to the President, which was signed by 27 members of Congress, is attached. Earlier this year, the Bipartisan Congressional Rural Caucus sent a similar letter to the President asking him to create an Office of Rural Policy in the White House. This office has not yet been created. The Administration’s “Rural Tour” will serve, for now, as a way to inform members of the Cabinet and other senior officials about rural priorities.

Skelton is a former chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Rural Caucus.

Aug. 5, 2009

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

As members of the Congressional Rural Caucus, we welcome your announcement of your adminstration's rural tour. Experiencing rural America is vital to understanding the complex challenges facing many proud communities today. With that in mind, we invite you to visit our communities and see for yourself the fabric of our country.

Our nation faces unprecedented economic challenges, and rural communities across the country offer innovative solutions. Throughout the rural tour, we are sure you and your top officials will be educated on a wide range of topics which are unique to rural America and offer insight into what makes our country great. The rural way of life is forever changing, and the dedication to entrepreneurship and innovation is exceedingly prevalent in some of the smallest places of the country.

The Congressional Rural Caucus wants what is best for our constituents and for America. Together, we are working to find creative solutions and commonsense approaches to the many problems plaguing our nation, both rural and urban. That is why earlier this year, we wrote you regarding the establishment of an Office of Rural Policy to work hand-in-hand with the Office of Urban Policy.

As the rural tour events continue through the August recess, we respectfully request that you make it a priority to visit some of the stops personally. At the very least, upon conclusion of the rural tour, we would like to arrange a meeting between your top officials and the Congressional Rural Caucus to share bipartisan information about the many issues of specific importance to our constituents. This, along with the establishment of the Office of Rural Policy, will undoubtably help inform your Administration on the constantly changing face of rural America.

Thank you for your consideration of our requests. We look forward to working closely with you on the matters of concern to the millions of Americans in the rural congressional districts we represent, as well as your responses.

Very sincerely,

Travis W. Childers, Member of Congress
Congressional Rural Caucus Co-Chair

Adrian Smith, Member of Congress
Congressional Rural Caucus Co-Chair

Tim Waltz, Member of Congress
Congressional Rural Caucus Vice-Chair

Glenn "GT" Thompson, Member of Congress
Congressional Rural Caucus Vice-Chair

John Tanner, Member of Congress
Tim Johnson, Member of Congress
Charlie Wilson, Member of Congress
Tom Periello, Member of Congress
Denny Rehberg, Member of Congress
Ike Skelton, Member of Congress
Bennie Thompson, Member of Congress
Christopher Carney, Member of Congress
Ciro Rodriguez, Member of Congress
Eric Massa, Member of Congress
Michael H. Michaud, Member of Congress
Sanford Bishop, Member of Congress
Bart Stupak, Member of Congress
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Member of Congress
Marion Berry, Member of Congress
Dave Loebsack, Member of Congress
Mike McIntyre, Member of Congress
Jo Ann Emerson, Member of Congress
Zack Space, Member of Congress
Walt Minnick, Member of Congress
Parker Griffith, Member of Congress
Lincoln Davis, Member of Congress
Debbie Halvorson, Member of Congress

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at http://www.house.gov/skelton.

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