Thursday, March 12, 2009

House members from 40 rural districts ask Obama to create a White House Office of Rural Policy

Forty House members from rural districts have asked President Obama to create a White House Office of Rural Policy to mirror the urban policy office he created last month.

"The unique policy matters faced in rural America include, but are not limited to, specific concerns regarding agriculture, conservation, economic development, education, health care, information technology and transportation infrastructure," the members wrote. "We are sure your administration would benefit from an office devoted to the effect of federal regulations on rural americans and our communities."

One example, they wrote, is the idea of taxing motorists on the basis of miles driven rather than gallons consumed, because rural commuters on uncrowded highways are more efficient. (That may not be the best example; many of those commuters drive too fast to support a claim of efficiency.) To read the members' letter to Obama, click here.

The White House has indicated that Obama is unlikely to create a rural policy office. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appears to be the administration's point man on rural issues so far.

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