Over the last few years that I’ve had the honor of representing the Third District, I’ve had countless conversations with rural Iowans about the issues they’re facing in their everyday lives.
I’ve heard from police officers and first responders working tirelessly to protect our communities and keep people safe all while having little access to the resources they need to do their jobs.
I’ve listened to entrepreneurs who were struggling to access the critical support required to open small businesses here in Iowa that will create jobs and stimulate our economy. Some 71% of rural small businesses are a low credit risk, but only 49% receive the full amount of financing they seek.
Those numbers are unacceptable.
I’ve spoken to folks who have relied on telehealth services, which more than 28 million Medicare beneficiaries used throughout the pandemic in order to access the care they need from home, and they are now worried about losing those critical services when the pandemic ends.
I’ve sat down with families feeling the squeeze from the rising costs of gas prices and goods due to the war in Ukraine and our broken-down supply chains.
There’s no question that rural Iowans have felt left behind by the federal government. It’s time to say enough is enough and to help make sure no Iowans are left behind — no matter where they live.
That’s why this week, I was proud to join community leaders in Perry to announce my Rural Prosperity Agenda — a package of bipartisan bills that I will be pushing Congress to pass to ensure that Iowans receive the investments they need to prosper.
This package of 11 bills that I helped introduce would make investments where we need them most.
It will make sure that our first responders and emergency services are fully funded so they can best serve our communities. It will expand affordable housing options, work to combat rural homelessness and empower local entrepreneurs and job creators.
The Rural Prosperity Agenda will support local farmers as they fight to make ends meet in an unfair cattle market. It will ensure rural Iowans can access the care they need from their homes and cut costs for families.
This agenda will also help make telehealth options permanent and build on legislation that has already passed Congress and been signed into law by President Biden, like my Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans’ Mental Health Act, which helps rural veterans access mental health care.
Most of all, it will cut through the bureaucratic red tape that prevents critical funds from actually being able to be used in the first place.
Let me be clear when I say that each and every one of these bills is an important piece of the puzzle as we work to ensure that rural Iowans — and all rural Americans — can thrive.
I am ready to continue my work in making sure that Iowans and folks across the country feel heard and supported by the federal government.
I’m proud to take on this fight for rural Iowans. I’ll be working with my colleagues and reaching across the aisle to get things done — because this isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue, this is an American issue.
Rep. Cindy Axne of West Des Moines represents Iowa’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She can be reached at 202-225-5476.