We All Do Better When We All Do Better

   We’ve all heard this phrase from Senator Paul Wellstone and it has become the foundation for all the work the DFL does in Minnesota. It informs the work our Senators and Representatives do in Washington. And it is the basis for the One Minnesota approach we all take to organizing and getting DFLers elected to serve us.

When we developed our billboard messages, this idea is where we started.

Then we looked for the facts. The facts on how our rural area is better because of Democrats in Minnesota and in Washington DC. The facts on how Democrats are working to help Americans while fighting GOP obstruction at every turn. Below are the resources we used to fact check each of our claims. Feel free to share widely.

Many of these programs have also been improved upon and expanded through our state leadership of Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, and the State Minnesota DFL Majority House led by Speaker Hortman.

Nearly everything accomplished at the state and federal level received zero Republican votes or support.

Please read through all the information at these link. It details each program funded through the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. If you'd like to donate to this project or host a sign on your property, email our committee chair at fcdfloutreach@gmail.com

Fact Sheet

Rural Playbook

Energy Fact Sheet

Rural Healthcare Facts

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   Of all the signs we’ve put up, this is the most important and the biggest call to action! Voting is our most powerful tool as a citizen! But, as we saw in the 2020 Election; at the January 6th Insurrection; and in our current social media and news feeds; the Republicans want to take our votes away. They want to erode our faith in the electoral outcome. And they want to create barriers to voting so the average citizen doesn’t bother to vote.

   As we also saw in the 2020 Presidential Election and subsequent runoff Senate elections in Georgia, every vote matters!! We know that when more people vote, Democrats win.

Here’s what you can you do to Save our Democracy:

  1. Vote!

  2. Encourage everyone you know to vote!

  3. Become an election judge or poll watcher.

  4. Actively participate in the process by attending candidate town halls, talking with your friends and family, and educating yourself on the issues (see #6).

  5. Push back any time you hear the Big Lie of election fraud.

  6. Don’t fall for disinformation! Look for sources on everything you read or watch and don’t share until you’re sure it’s true. Make it a practice to consume news from multiple sources with different viewpoints.

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   Building on an initial investment in the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers on the President’s promises to provide high speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, and good paying jobs in every rural community. A generational investment in rural America, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will spend billions of dollars to revitalize and rebuild rural communities across the country.

Minnesota will receive more than $6 billion in federal funds, of which $4.5 billion will go toward highways. Minnesota bridges will receive $302 million, public transportation will get $818 million. and $100 million is aimed at improving high-speed internet in rural areas. Source 

   Furthermore, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $1 billion in Energy Improvement in Rural or Remote Areas to support entities in rural or remote areas to increase environmental protection from the impacts of energy use and improve resilience, reliability, safety, and availability of energy.

   This once-in-a-generation investment in critical, rural infrastructure will help everyone who lives here be able to work and learn from home and the farm. It will ensure our roads and bridges are safe for travel, tourism, and commerce. It will mean farmers and small business owners can work efficiently and can get their product to market as quickly and safely as possible.

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   Together the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law bring a multitude of projects to rural Minnesota that not only improve our quality of life but bring high-paying, good jobs to our communities. Each of these investments (high speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity) require a New Deal level employment boost that will bolster our small, rural economies. These big, broad investments will make Main Street stronger and encourage our kids to stay here to raise their families.

  • $55 billion investment in our water and wastewater infrastructure which includes eliminating ALL lead pipes.

  • $3.5 billion to improve home energy efficiency for rural, low-income families, reducing energy costs, improving household comfort and safety, and cutting pollution.

  • The Department of Education (ED) is investing $198 million in American Rescue Plan funding for competitive grants for rural colleges and universities that serve a high percentage of low-income students and are experiencing enrollment declines.

  • The American Rescue Plan also increased SNAP benefits which will increase the well-being of 2.9 million people in rural areas, including 800,000 children, reducing rural poverty by 11% and rural child poverty by 20%. USDA also invested $1 billion, including $500 million in American Rescue Plan funding, in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to support and expand emergency food access so states, food banks, and local organizations.

  • The American Rescue Plan invested a historic $3 billion in the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Economic Development Administration (EDA) to build local, rural economies that are resilient to future economic shocks

  • The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Community Navigator Pilot Program, funded by the American Rescue Plan, is reducing barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs – including those in rural America – often face in accessing the resources they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses. The program is providing a total of $100 million to 51 nonprofits, state and local governments, universities, and tribal entities that will work with organizations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to provide technical assistance to small businesses in underserved communities. 

  • Departments of Agriculture and the Interior are collaborating to invest $2.8 billion under the Great American Outdoors Act to improve access, experiences, and partnerships for outdoor recreation that not only promote tourism but also protect America’s public lands while creating jobs and opportunities in rural communities. EDA is also investing $750 million in American Rescue Plan funding through the Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, including $510 million that has already been provided to states.

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Our nation’s infrastructure gives America’s farmers and ranchers a competitive advantage and helps us move products from fields to consumers around the world. These investments will ensure we continue to safely and efficiently transport the agricultural and food products that our nation and the world rely on.”

Zippy Duvall, President of American Farm Bureau Federation

  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $10 million in grants to support research on the economic, social and environmental benefits of using materials derived from bioproducts in the development and manufacturing of construction and consumer products.

  • Energy Improvement in Rural and Remote Areas: Administered through the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $1B to carry out activities to improve the resilience, safety, reliability, and availability of energy and provide environmental protection from adverse impacts of energy generation in rural and remote communities with populations of 10,000 or less. Eligible projects may include: (A) Overall cost-effectiveness of energy generation, transmission, or distribution systems; (B) siting or upgrading transmission and distribution lines; (C) reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation by rural or remote areas; (D) providing or modernizing electric generation facilities; (E) developing microgrids; and (F) increasing energy efficiency. DOE anticipates emphasizing grid reliability and resiliency for the funding, and will conduct stakeholder engagement over the next few months to inform the structure of the program.

  • USDA Rural Development Electric Programs - The Electric Program provides capital to maintain, expand, upgrade, and modernize America’s vast rural electric infrastructure. The loans and loan guarantees finance the construction of electric distribution, transmission, and generation facilities, including system improvements and replacement required to furnish and improve electric service in rural areas, as well as demand side management, energy efficiency and conservation programs, and on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems.

  • Enhance Existing Water Infrastructure. $63 billion is earmarked for improvements to national water infrastructure which broken down will be: $3.2 billion to repair aging water infrastructure; $1.2 billion for new water storage, groundwater storage, and conveyance systems; and $618 million \ to the USDA’s watershed programs.

  • First Generation (Gen-1) Corn Ethanol Emission Reductions Program. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office will offer funding totaling $10M for multiple projects that analyze and demonstrate strategies to lower GHG emissions and Carbon Intensity (CI) within existing the Gen-1 corn ethanol industry (mostly located in rural America).  Technologies such as low-carbon agricultural practices, switching to renewable process heat and power (i.e., renewable natural gas, or biomass), utilization of process produced CO2, and new productivity or conversion efficiency measures in ethanol facilities have the potential to reduce GHG emissions to net zero. For more information visit EERE Exchange at https://eere-Exchange.energy.gov.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rechartered its Farm, Ranch & Rural Communities Advisory Committee (FRRCC).  Administrator Regan simultaneously announced a new charge topic for the FRRCC as well. The FRRCC’s 2022–2024 charge is: “Advancing Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for U.S. Agriculture.”  To address this charge, the FRRCC will consider US EPA’s available tools and programs and identify voluntary, incentive-based opportunities, public-private partnerships, and market-based approaches where US EPA can assist in advancing agriculture’s climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. The FRRCC’s 2022–2024 charge topic regarding climate mitigation and adaptation strategies at first glance appears broad, but the FRRCC is taxed with analyzing specific topics, including:

  • Alternative manure management systems and other methane reduction practices;

  • Improved quantification of greenhouse gas emissions reductions from low-carbon biofuels;

  • Climate and water quality co-benefits from nutrient management practices;

  • Strategies to achieve EPA and USDA’s goal of halving food loss and waste by 2030;

  • Research and regulatory responses to evolving pest pressures due to climate change; and

  • Water management and reuse strategies to address water scarcity.

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   Everyone benefits when we’re all healthy and well-cared for. The Democrats have worked hard to address both the shortages and inequities in rural childcare, healthcare, and issues created by the Covid-19 pandemic

Childcare

   The President secured $39 billion in the American Rescue Plan to lower child care costs and provide financial support to child care providers. This funding has already reached more than 150,000 child care providers, including those across rural America. The American Rescue Plan also provided funding to all 1,600 Head Start grantees, which serve the vast majority of rural counties and sometimes serve as the only provider in a rural community. The President has also called on Congress to cut child care spending in half for most families, offer every 3- and 4-year old free preschool, and boost the number of high-quality child care programs in high-need areas, including in rural America.

COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the difficulties faced by rural communities in health care infrastructure and clinicians. The Democrats have provided a full package of Covid mitigation and recovery projects as well as working to fix the issues in rural health care access and delivery.

  • The American Rescue Plan surged $130 billion to our states, territories, tribes, and local communities to help them safely reopen our schools and keep them open, while addressing the impacts of the pandemic on students, including on their learning and mental health. Roughly $16 billion of these funds went to rural communities.

  • The American Rescue Plan funded COVID-19 testing and mitigation in 4,200 rural health clinics, and $398 million in funding to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation for over 1,500 small rural hospitals. HHS provided up to $100,000 per clinic and up to $230,000 per hospital to increase COVID-19 testing, expand access to testing in rural communities.

  • The American Rescue Plan provided $500 million for USDA to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program. The program provided $350 million to help rural hospitals and local communities increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, medical supplies, telehealth, and food assistance, and support the construction or renovation of rural health care facilities. It also provides recovery funds that compensate for lost revenue or staffing expenses due to COVID-19.

 

Rural Healthcare

Rural communities face persistent disparities in health outcomes and access to care, including higher rates of uninsured individuals, health care workforce shortages, and difficulty reaching the nearest hospital. The Biden Administration is taking action to improve the health of rural communities by ensuring rural Americans have the health care and coverage they need and deserve and helping rural hospitals stay open.

  • The American Rescue Plan has done more to lower costs and expand access to health care than any action since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. It has made quality coverage more affordable than ever—with families saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums, and four out of five consumers finding quality coverage for under $10 a month.

  • Expand rural health care coverage and keep rural hospitals open. Since President Biden took office, nearly 700,000 rural Americans have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan. Closing this coverage gap is estimated to reduce the risk of rural hospital closure by 62%. Furthermore, HHS will establish a new provider type, Rural Emergency Hospitals, which will allow facilities to offer emergency department services, observation care, and/or outpatient services in rural areas.

  • The American Rescue Plan provided $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan funding to help compensate health care providers who serve rural Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) patients for lost revenue and increased expenses associated with COVID-19 so they can remain financially viable and continue serving their communities into the future.

  • The Administration made a historic $1.5 billion investment, including $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan, in its health workforce loan repayment and scholarship programs. More than 22,700 primary care clinicians funded by these programs now serve in underserved communities, including rural and tribal communities—the largest number ever.

  • HHS is also making $48 million from the American Rescue Plan available to expand public health capacity in rural and tribal communities through health care job development, training, and placement. This will increase the number of well-trained health care professionals and connect them with future employers, including hospitals and clinics in rural areas. 

The Biden-Harris Administration has issued several telehealth supports including research conducted by NIH; funding for broadband, smart phones and internet connectivity; and an expansion of eligible services that can be delivered via telehealth, including a new rule that expands access to tele-mental health services for Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare will also now pay for mental health visits furnished via telehealth when they are provided by Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers. This policy expands access to Medicare beneficiaries, especially those living in rural and other underserved areas.
 

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   Through a unique community collaboration of local non-profits, landowners, concerned citizens and both state and federal offices, the community of Preston is home to two significant and regionally important facilities for Veterans.

   The Veterans Cemetery opened in 2015 and provides a final resting place for eligible veterans and spouses with military burial honors within 75 miles of their home.

   The Veterans Home (currently under construction) was funded through local donations, grants, and a 2018 MN Legislative allocation. The final $21M needed to start construction came through American Rescue Plan funding. This home is expected to provide skilled nursing care for 54 residents and create 115 new nursing and supportive care jobs for the area. Source

   The American Rescue Plan also expanded Veterans Affairs training programs for rural providers outside of the VA system. The Rural Interprofessional Faculty Development Initiative, developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is an innovative two-year training program designed to provide teaching and training skills for clinicians in rural settings, preparing rural clinicians to take on faculty roles, mentor medical professionals to serve in rural America, and grow the healthcare workforce in rural communities. In 2021, VA launched a new joint initiative with HHS, adding non-VA community clinicians to the program. This joint initiative will benefit up to 40 rural communities each year and enable rural clinicians to better train the next generation of clinicians who will serve rural America.