Tom Steyer
Billionaire activist Tom Steyer, a Democratic candidate for president, rolled out a plan to help rural Americans today. Here are the highlights from his Partnerships with Rural Communities platform:
  • Protect the rights of local governments, nonprofits and cooperatives to build their own broadband networks.
  • Fund $135 billion in Rural Utilities Service grants and loans, along with private loans, to encourage broadband buildout; some money would be set aside for disadvantaged communities, tribal lands and communities where minorities constitute the majority.
  • Increase investment in rural hospitals, including telemedicine.
  • Forgive student loans for some rural health care providers.
  • Fight the opioid epidemic with $75 billion over 10 years for treatment programs and more.
  • Hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic.
  • Help rural seniors age in place with in-home assistance.
  • Require insurers to cover mental health, dental and vision.
  • Expand mobile clinics to more rural areas.
  • Increase funding and attention to rural maternity and childbirth facilities and providers.
  • Expand the Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service.
  • Reverse Trump administration actions that have reduced access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.
  • Increase rural volunteerism through Americorps and Climate Corps funding.
  • Increase funding to make rural drinking water cleaner.
  • Support free trade policies that will help American farmers.
  • Enforce antitrust laws in agriculture to protect family farmers.
  • Go after predatory lenders in rural areas and increase financial literacy education.
  • Allocate $50 billion to encourage young and family farmers to implement more climate-friendly practices.
  • Shut down hardship waivers for oil refiners under the Renewable Fuel Standard program.
  • Invest in various rural renewable energy programs.
  • Increase funding for wildfire reduction in forests.
  • Divert more funds to upgrading and maintaining public lands.

The Rural Blog reports major statements by presidential candidates about rural policy.