As seen in 2016, President Trump surprised the nation by pulling off his win with major thanks to the voters of rural, middle America. So, while it may be early on, the Democrats have similarly made it clear they're going to spotlight rural community issues in the 2020 presidential election to secure the White House. Considering that nearly one out of every five Americans lives in rural communities, this seems like a strong plan of action.
While many of the candidates, including Amy Klobuchar and Beto O'Rourke, have vowed to increase rural hospital access, stimulate rural economies, and target the opioid crisis, Governor John Hickenlooper is now the first to have released his exact solution. Although Hickenlooper's campaign has yet to pick up traction, as seen in early polling, this plan is sure to stir up support for him in Midwestern rural areas. He has promised to "be a champion for our rural communities" promoting small businesses, expanding access to broadband, education and health care and investing in renewable energy, while also fighting the ever-growing opioid crisis with a mix of federal funds and legislation.
Hickenlooper has released this plan so early because his experience as two-term Colorado governor has prepared him to tackle these issues with confidence on the federal level. As governor, he brought the state of Colorado up from 40th in job growth to the number one economy in the country. Some more of his said experience includes expanding broadband internet access from a small minority of areas to all 64 of Colorado's rural communities. He has also said that more than 80 percent of Colorado rural counties rank in the top half of employment growth of all such areas as a result of his initiatives.
The proposed plan includes the creation of a federally funded grant program to train first responders on how to use Naloxone, a drug that aids in the reversal of an overdose, as well as the enactment of a national prescription drug buyback and disposal program. Hickenlooper's plan has further made provisions for a ban to be created, via executive order, to stop the advertising of opioids intended for pain relief and require Medicaid and other insurers to cover rehabilitation services.
Hickenlooper has also proposed to implement $50 billion in tax credit for owners of micro-businesses, which are small businesses that have five or fewer full-time employees and draw in revenues of less than $10 million annually to stimulate rural economic development. and invest $10 billion to provide tax relief to small businesses for any new hires. He has also included $10 billion to go towards tax relief to small businesses for new hires, $20 billion to be invested in the much needed expansion of broadband access across the U.S., and $10 billion of the previously states 20 to go to the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service fund to directly deploy broadband access.
Hickenlooper's bid for the presidency has left him pushed to the sidelines as many, MANY other Democratic candidates have also announced their run for president. However, he still has plenty of time to set himself apart from the pack. Only time and polling will tell. Until then, you can read Gov. Hickenlooper's plan in further detail and learn more about his policy experience in rural Colorado communities on his Medium blog.
And to read up on the rest of the Presidential candidates for 2020, you may click the link below. This article includes a brief summary of the experiences and goals of each candidate.