ANKENY, Iowa — With a barn adorned with an American flag and a bright red tractor as a backdrop, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Wednesday made her pitch to bridge the urban-rural divide in the country by expanding rural health care, boosting agriculture and energy industries, and offering more support to farmers.
Dubbed the "plan for American's Heartland," the proposal outlines several ideas to address agricultural and rural issues facing the country. During her 40 minute speech on an Ankeny farm, Klobuchar said she would bring back "respect across the country" for rural America by creating a new classification under Medicare to give rural hospitals more support so they can stay open; offering federal loan forgiveness for in-demand occupations like farming and careers in agriculture; and investing in clean energy industries and rural infrastructure--a piece of her larger $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
She also vowed to cut child poverty in half in 10 years and eradicate it "in a generation," by expanding some tax credits and SNAP benefits. She also said she would end "overuse" of small refinery waivers to the Renewable Fuel Standards that have been granted to large oil companies.
“I can tell you one thing as your president I’m not going to be treating our farmers like poker chips at a bankrupt casino," Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar, who sits as a senior member on the United States Senate Agriculture Committee, often touts her Midwestern roots on the campaign trail, bolstering her knowledge of rural America as a qualification to be elected as president. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also both unveiled their own rural policies ahead of their Iowa campaign swings this week.
“We are not going to be able to move forward as a nation together to tackle these big challenges like climate change, gun safety and other things if we don’t at least look at each othen---in the urban areas say, 'ok, the food doesn’t magical appear on my table.' And in the rural areas say 'ok, these are my customers how are we going to work together and we have some challenges too,'” Klobuchar said.
Her plan also calls for expanding access to land and capital for new farmers and fully funding disaster relief programs. She also pledges to connect every American household to high-speed internet by 2022.