Friday, June 19, 2015

TV show to invite presidential candidates to talk about rural issues; Clinton already talking rural

Rural America could be the deciding factor in the next presidential election, even though rural areas are sometimes overlooked by presidential candidates. RFD-TV and Mediacom Communications hope to change that with the launch in July of Rural Town Hall, "a series of live, one-hour primetime programs featuring presidential candidates and their respective takes on rural and agricultural issues, filmed in Iowa but offered nationally via RFD-TV," Mike Farrell reports for Multichannel News.

"Leading up to the caucuses in Iowa and the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, candidates will share their vision for rural America while answering questions submitted by rural associations, organizations and commodity groups," Farrell writes. 

"Questions will be solicited from grain, livestock, poultry, fruit, vegetable and fiber producers; rural educators, FFA and 4-H members; along with officials from small towns who have unique concerns about rural development, healthcare and other challenges facing America’s rural communities," Farrell writes.

Despite winning in 2008 and 2012, President Obama performed poorly in rural areas and concentrated mostly on appealing to urban voters. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is taking a different approach, having already made an appeal to rural areas, telling an audience this week in impoverished Santee, S.C., that if elected president she will "be an advocate for children, the middle class and poor in rural communities," Gene Zaleski reports for The Times and Democrat.

Clinton said "the work of making rural areas competitive begins with ensuring children are properly cared for," Zaleski writes. She said "she will make preschool and quality childcare available for every child and 'double the investment to early childhood Head Start programs.'" She said "she would investigate helping rural communities through the creation of an infrastructure bank."

She also "is proposing a new tax credit for businesses that hire and train apprentices in an effort to increase employment of young adults," Zaleski writes. "Under her plan, businesses would get a tax credit of $1,500 per individual. The proposal would combine on-the-job training with instruction and target skilled fields such as construction, health care and manufacturing. The program would be geared to supplement the current workforce training programs in place."

"She said as president she will fight for four things: making the economy work for everyday Americans, not just those on the top; stronger families; maintaining America's leadership for peace and prosperity in the world and reforming government in accordance with the nation's values," Zaleski writes.

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