USDA Official Meets With Ohio Business Leaders in Eastern Ohio to Discuss Job Creation, Economic Growth and Rural Revitalization | USDA Newsroom
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Release No. 0415.11
Contact:
Heather Hartley (614) 255-2394

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USDA Official Meets With Ohio Business Leaders in Eastern Ohio to Discuss Job Creation, Economic Growth and Rural Revitalization

ATHENS, Ohio, Sept. 22, 2011 — USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O'Brien joined area business leaders in a roundtable discussion here yesterday to get feedback on how the Obama Administration can work with local businesses and community leaders to improve rural economic conditions and create jobs. The meeting is part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this summer and fall with senior Obama Administration officials on behalf of the White House Rural Council.

"I'm always impressed with the ideas and enthusiasm that come from the hard-working people of rural Ohio," O'Brien said. "Increasingly, we see city leaders turning to small-town America for creative solutions. Here, out-of-the-box thinking was a necessity long before the current economic environment took hold."

The roundtables give government leaders an opportunity to hear directly from business leaders around the country about their ideas on how to grow the economy. They also are intended to educate participants about USDA programs and other federal resources that help rural businesses, residents and communities. Hosted by Ohio University's Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs, the roundtable drew a diverse group of small business, industry and education leaders from southeast Ohio. OU's Center for Entrepreneurship Director Lynn Gellermann spearheaded participation from organizations as diverse as TechGrowth Ohio, EdMap, the Ohio Department of Development, WesBanco, and the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet).

USDA Rural Development continues to assist many small Ohio businesses. In nearby Marietta, for instance, a recent Business and Industry loan guarantee is helping build a 103-room, three-story Fairfield Inn & Suites. Once open, the hotel is expected to bring more than 30 jobs to the area.

"Rural Development is committed to creating – and sustaining – job development and entrepreneurial growth," said Ohio Rural Development State Director Tony Logan. "Roundtables such as these not only offer an unprecedented opportunity to listen and learn, they also provide a remarkable launch pad for new ideas and partnerships to take hold and flourish."

On September 8, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act in an address to Congress. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. The American Jobs Act is specific. It will put people back to work right now, and it will not add to the deficit. Through a combination of direct spending, such as infrastructure investments, and tax relief, such as an extension of the payroll tax cuts, it will lead to new American jobs.

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.

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