U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a Pittsburgh native, speaks Wednesday during day two of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was President Obama's voice of urban America, Tom Vilsack is his voice for rural America. Mr. Vilsack, who was raised in Pittsburgh, grew up to be governor of Iowa and then U.S. agriculture secretary. He knows rural America. And so, he says, does the president.
Mr. Obama grew up in Illinois, a farming state, "and he understands the challenges that rural communities and families face today: protecting their middle-class way of life, preserving their heartland values," Mr. Vilsack said in his speech to the Democratic National Convention.
Mr. Obama, he said, is helping farmers sell products in new markets and is infusing rural communities with new capital in the form of loans to farmers and improvements to the infrastructure. More recently, he has helped farmers in scorched states recover from drought, Mr. Vilsack said.
But there's more to do, and Mr. Obama has a plan to do it, Mr. Vilsack said. It calls for additional support for innovative businesses, new investment in bio-fuel production, and the opening of new markets.
"Rural Americans want leaders who help middle-class communities to plan and prosper over the long term, not opportunists who reap the rewards for themselves, leaving nothing for the people who do the sowing," he said. "In America's heartland, we're voting for President Obama, the president who will keep our country and rural America moving forward."
First published on September 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm