The Indiana Rural Caucus, a newly formed organization within the Indiana General Assembly, includes members of the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives, including Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford).
"For years, the urban areas of our state have effectively united to advance their common interests," said Rep. Koch. "The Rural Caucus will provide a forum for legislators from rural areas to educate, cooperate, and coordinate on issues of mutual concern."
Issues that Rep. Koch expects the Rural Caucus to address include:
· Expanding broadband coverage in rural communities.
· Farmland Assessed Valuation.
· Accessing USDA Broadband funds.
· Rural community storm sewer and wastewater treatment assistance.
· Working with USDA-Rural Development and rural utilities for community needs.
· Ensuring that Indiana's rural communities get their share of stimulus funds.
· Addressing transportation and transportation infrastructure in rural communities.
· Accessing grant programs for rural communities.
· Inclusion of pickup trucks in the LRS funding formula.
· A more equitable school funding formula for rural schools.
· Accessing EPA utilities aid.
· Rural healthcare issues.
· Working more closely with local zoning and health boards on agricultural issues.
· Methamphetamine use and production.
The Rural Caucus will celebrate National Ag Week this week and will receive a briefing from Anne Hazlett, the new director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, concerning the federal stimulus bill.