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Whitmer Creates Rural Development Agency

A farm in rural Iowa. The high school graduates who head off to college in the lowest proportions in America are the ones from rural places.
A farm in rural Iowa. The high school graduates who head off to college in the lowest proportions in America are the ones from rural places.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a directive to create a new Office of Rural Development.

The rural development office will be housed within the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is led by director Gary McDowell.

“We look at housing, we look at health care, we look at education opportunities. In the rural parts of the state, we don’t have a lot of those opportunities just because of our ruralness.” Also, more broadband internet and better roads. McDowell says federal Build Back Better funds could make that possible.

“And we want to make sure we get our fair share of them, too. Maybe, hopefully, a little bit more.”

McDowell says one benchmark to watch is whether the state’s efforts slow the outward migration of people from rural areas.