Kentucky Young Democrats will begin posting blog posts from members, to showcase their ideas and passion. Posting does not imply endorsement of ideas presented, but rather should emphasize that the Democratic Party is a big tent party and that new ideas are always welcome.
When you think of people who may support President Obama, rural Americans aren't the first group that comes to mind. But when we talk about who has the most at stake in the upcoming election, rural Americans have more reason to support President Obama than perhaps any other group.
President Obama has taken a lot of bad press here in Kentucky because of his stance on coal and his vision for an alternative energy-powered America. Rural Americans, however, stand to benefit the most from the green energy movement. Particularly in Kentucky, where we benefit from having the space for wind and solar production, green energy could be our ticket to an economy built to last. That is the kind of economy President Obama believes in. Coal jobs have been on the decline since well before President Obama took office, mainly due to coal mining techniques which made it more profitable for mine operators to use fewer people. Instead of fighting the inevitable, Kentucky would be wise to join the green energy movement with the President and build our economy for the future.
But before we talk about building those technologies, we first have to educate the people who will build and maintain them. Rural Americans have benefited greatly from the President's initiatives to reform student loans, making it easier to go to college without the worry of financial hardship after. Because of the efforts by the President and Congress, the Pell Grant program has been vastly expanded and student loans are no longer being given out through banks, saving time and money. Repayment on student loans will now be capped at a maximum percentage of your annual income once you leave college, making it easier for you to get on your feet quickly. The President also implemented "Race to the Top" which made states compete to out-innovate and out-educate each other to win grant money from the Federal government.
Since President Obama took office, health care reform was one of his top priorities. The Affordable Care Act, although controversial and imperfect, established the idea that hard working Americans should never go broke because they fall ill. Rural Americans can now afford to visit the doctor for an annual checkup and can no longer be denied coverage because of their health or their gender. Health insurance will be made cheaper through competition with state-run exchanges, which must meet high standards for providers to participate. This will mean greater access to care at much lower costs, particularly for poor and middle class families.
At the end of the day, we have to assess who is on the side of Rural America and who is on the side of Corporate America. There is still more work to do, and so long as there are people unemployed who want jobs, people who are sick and cannot afford care, or people wanting to pursue a degree but afraid of the cost, President Obama will not be satisfied. You can place a bet that President Obama will be the one on your side for the next 8 years.
- Halyn Roth, President of the Pulaski County Young Democrats