Friday, May 01, 2020

Joe Biden ramps up his rural campaign

Much has been made of Hillary Clinton's failure to connect with rural and blue-collar America, and how that disconnect likely cost her the election. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden seems to have taken the lesson to heart, and is ramping up his campaign efforts in rural areas with advisers who helped Obama win in many rural areas in 2008.

Biden's rural advisory committee "will be co-chaired by Phil Karsting, a former administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service under Barack Obama. The second co-chair hasn’t been named yet, but it’s likely to be a female agriculture leader," Philip Brasher reports for Agri-Pulse. "Larry Strickling, who was the Commerce Department’s assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration during the Obama administration, is overseeing the selection of the rural committee and other advisory panels." Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will also likely play a role in the campaign's rural outreach.

Marshall Matz, a nutrition and agriculture policy lobbyist who chaired Obama's rural advisory committee in 2008, told Brasher that the Democratic Party knows it has to do a better job of reaching out to rural America: "It is not just on farm issues that Democrats need to show up, but on all issues, starting with health care. Most rural hospitals don't have even one ventilator, and that is a concern for rural Americans."

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