FAIRBANKS, ALASKA â€” Wednesday, USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Administrator Jonathan Adelstein met with federal and state officials to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to lessen the high cost of electrical energy, spur innovation and create jobs in Alaska. The meeting was part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Obama Administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council.
“The President and USDA are committed to creating good-paying jobs that will help businesses and the communities they serve,” Adelstein said. “Alaska business leaders provided me with valuable input concerning the high cost of energy.”
Adelstein was joined by USDA Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund, U.S. Senator Mark Begich, Golden Valley Electric Association President and CEO Brian Newton, Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins, and Fairbanks business leaders.
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in rural communities.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America’s rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.