White House Rural Council

Last Updated: June 25, 2011

This article appeared in the June 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

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On June 9th, President Barak Obama issued an Executive Order to establish the White House Rural Council. The Council is charged with coordinating Federal programs and maximizing the impact of Federal investment to promote economic prosperity and quality of life in rural communities.

The Council is made up of the heads of some 25 executive branch departments, agencies, and offices. It is headed by the Secretary of Agriculture Secretary, currently Tom Vilsack.

The Council’s duties include making recommendations to the President on leveraging Federal investments in rural areas, coordinating Federal engagement with rural stakeholders; and, identifying rural economic opportunities associated with energy development, outdoor recreation, and other conservation related activities.

In a June 9 press release, President Obama said, “Strong rural communities are key to a stronger America.” He said the Council would make sure the administration is “working across government to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.”

That press release identified 10 factors key for growth including: jobs, agriculture, access to credit, innovation (specifically related to biofuels and renewable energy), networks, health care, education, broadband, infrastructure, and ecosystem markets.

In a public statement Secretary of Education Arne Duncan emphasized increasing college and career training for rural students as a national priority.

It is not yet clear how the Council will function or what specific tasks it will undertake.

Read more:

The order:

The press release:

Secretary Vilsack’s statement:

Statements from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy:

Read more from the June 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters

Related Tags: Federal Education Policy