A New Deal for Rural Infrastructure: Investment in Wealth

How we approach infrastructure and economic development:

Infrastructure investment is a cyclical relationship with other policies. Schools, streets, sidewalks, healthy people, parks and natural resources, clean water, education, and art all provide the base for economic growth and development. By embracing Build Back Better and focusing on investing in our region’s lagging – and in many cases non-existent – infrastructure, we will power-charge our region’s economy while directly improving the lives of all residents. But, in order to do this, we need leaders at the state level that will work hard on our behalf to make this vision a reality.

A New Deal framework, building off of the WealthWorks program, looks at economic development as broad investment in all of our “capital stock,” as opposed to the standard ‘growth’ approach. We view economics as a means to an end, where we can increase the standard of living now and for future generations. While conventional wisdom tends to see cash income gained from ‘jobs’ alone as a metric of success, we seek to build wealth by investing various “value chains” that then enable growth in other areas – that is, parents, kids and adolescents, in education, arts, recreation, healthy food and ecosystems. By building these networks that stimulate demand, we can have the foundations for homegrown employment networks.

Our vision for a New Deal will include:

  • Investment in locally grown, cooperative, and non-profit organizations, grant and loan opportunities for artists, businesses, and recreational tourism. Aid and grants to help agricultural workers transition to sustainable practices.
  • Broadband for All through a public option.
  • 21st-century rail system bridging the urban and rural transportation gaps.
  • A Green Schools Program, revitalizing or building a new school in all regions of rural Oregon
  • A renewed Civilian Conservation Corps to help rural Oregon Build Back Better, be that cleaning up Klamath Lake, or revitalizing well systems.
  • Union-led, public and private business development that is responsive to various regional stakeholders (Tribes, unions, ecological groups, residents and schools).

We can do this together!

Stay tuned for more policy details in the coming weeks! And share your vision too!