In Herkimer County, Gillibrand Announces Legislation To Invest $50 Billion In Rural Economic Development

Aug. 08 2023

In Herkimer County, Gillibrand Announces Legislation To Invest $50 Billion In Rural Economic Development

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood with local leaders in Ilion to announce her Rebuild Rural America Act, legislation that would invest $50 billion in rural economic development, infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and small businesses. The bill would address the challenges specific to rural America and make it easier for rural communities to access federal funding and other resources.

“New York’s rural communities face a variety of unique challenges, but too often, the federal government has failed to adequately support them,” said Senator Gillibrand. “My Rebuild Rural America Act will invest $50 billion into rural America to help communities build schools, expand child care access, catalyze private investment, train workers for in-demand jobs, and bolster critical infrastructure. I look forward to getting this legislation passed in the Farm Bill this year.”

“The Rebuild Rural America Act, sponsored by Senator Gillibrand, is a bill that will help support and facilitate a Childrens Center like the one being proposed by Herkimer County. I commend the Senator for her efforts on sponsoring a bill that will have needle moving affects, not just for Herkimer County, but for all counties throughout the country on this very important issue of children services,” said Vincent J. Bono, Chairman, Herkimer County Legislature.

“As a county who believes in data and working together, I would like to thank Senator Gillibrand for her legislation to Rebuild Rural America. These efforts to put forth much needed federal resources for rural areas such as Herkimer County who are facing challenges such as childcare, mental health, and healthcare to name a few are much needed and very timely,” said Jim Wallace, Herkimer County Administrator.

“The needs of rural communities are not more or less important than those of their urban counterparts, however they often require more of a “deft hand” in creating a solution. Thank you Senator Gillibrand for writing legislation which is doing just that, tailoring a solution based approach for rural needs,” said Christina Cain, Herkimer County Director of Public Health.

“We look forward to seeing this Childcare Center built here in Ilion. Thank you Senator Gillibrand for your continued advocacy around funding for projects in rural communities,” said Mayor John Stephens, Village of Ilion.

Specifically, the Rebuild Rural America Act would:

  1. Establish a Rural Future Partnership Fund that would create a $50 billion block grant program for long-term rural economic development projects, including investments in child care centers, public schools, libraries, community centers, health care providers, workforce development programs, emergency preparedness programs, main street revitalization programs, and water and sewer facilities, among others. In contrast with existing funding opportunities, which often require arduous applications that recipients must reapply through each year, the fund would provide grantees with 5 years of guaranteed funding. This streamlined process would allow communities to make longer-term investments and would ease administrative burdens on local governments.
  2. Make it easier for rural communities to access federal funds and other resources by establishing a USDA Rural Innovation and Partnership Administration. This administration would work directly with local leaders to provide information on available federal resources, technical assistance, and cutting-edge data to help them craft and implement rural revitalization plans to make government helpful, not a hassle.
  3. Fight population loss from rural areas by launching the Rural Future Corps, a program that would place AmeriCorps Fellows in rural communities and help these communities expand critical services like child care, health, nutrition assistance, education, and job training. The program would also work to retain members in rural communities after their year of service.
  4. Empower local leaders, who know their communities best, to drive regional economic development through a new suite of national capacity and training programs to connect the expertise of national technical assistance providers with rural regions.