Rep. Dodge Attends Indiana Rural Caucus
(STATEHOUSE) March 16, 2009 - Rep. Dick Dodge (R-Pleasant Lake) was invited to and attended the 2009 Indiana Rural Caucus.
The goal of the Rural Caucus is to understand, identify and promote rural issues and serve as a voice for Indiana rural communities. Indiana's rural communities face difficult challenges such as demographic changes, job creation, capital access, infrastructure, and land preservation.
It's the Rural Caucus' mission to resolve these challenges with their resources (state agencies, private business, etc.).
"I am pleased that there is a possibility of federal stimulus money to be available to rural communities," said Rep. Dodge.
The leading issue of the caucus event was how stimulus money will be used towards rural communities and agriculture. The majority of Indiana's federal stimulus money will be used for infrastructure such as roads and highways. As of now it is unsure if stimulus money will be allocated for agricultural projects.
The Indiana Rural Caucus and state public universities are working together to accumulate a list of competitive grants for rural community projects. So far 8,000 competitive grants have been uncovered.
The Indiana Rural Caucus is calling for legislators to gather ideas for how to best use grant money and or stimulus money for rural projects.
Another issue discussed was broadband and high-speed internet availability in rural communities. It was universally understood that in order for economic growth these areas must have access to broadband service. Several state agencies are engaged in this.
"I am looking forward to advancing District 51," said Rep. Dodge. "Local road expansion, high-speed broadband service, clean water and sewage projects are all areas of rural communities that need attention."