Pete Buttigieg, the young mayor from Indiana and Democratic presidential candidate, has put forth an economic plan that would revitalize rural America, by making high-speed internet more accessible, creating new apprenticeship programs and hiring new teachers.
“Rural America is vital for our country’s past, present and future,” it reads on Buttigieg’s campaign website. “Pete’s plan focuses on renewing and reimagining opportunity specifically in rural America, to unleash its staggering potential.”
A Buttigieg administration would provide $500 million in funding for regional clusters across America, which would support rural businesses and jobs. It would support local economic planning, attempt to spark innovation in rural communities, and provide funding for veterans who want to become entrepreneurs.
Buttigieg’s plan also attempts to mitigate the causes of climate change that can stem from rural communities across the United States. He wants to invest $50 billion over a decade in research and development to reduce agriculture’s carbon emissions and would pay farmers to optimize land conservation.
Other Democratic candidates have also announced plans to bring services such as high-speed internet to rural America. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has proposed an $85 billion dollar grant to expand broadband internet across the country.
A 2018 Pew Research study found that for 24% of rural Americans, access to high-speed internet is a major problem.
Democratic candidates are focusing on rural America as they campaigned at the Iowa State Fair over the past week. The Iowa Caucus is the first nominating contest in the Democratic presidential primaries, and is set for Feb. 3.
Some of the swing states that are vital for victory during the 2020 general election, such as Ohio, also have large rural populations that candidates want to win over.