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Activities and Innovative Policies
Ledet elected to board of State Agriculture and Rural Leaders
MACKENZIE LEDET, Director at Stonehenge Capital, was recently elected on behalf of the national RURAL JOBS COALITION to the Board of State Agriculture and Rural Leaders (SARL) at its 2019 Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit in Calgary, Alberta.
SARL provides educational opportunities for state officials and other elected officials on technology, policy, processes and issues that are of concern to agriculture and rural communities. The organization is dedicated to promoting and fostering cooperation, leadership and educational opportunities among and for state and provincial legislators passionate about agriculture and rural communities.
Ledet, who will represent the Rural Jobs Coalition as a SARL board member, said that SARL’s focus complements the mission of the Rural Jobs Coalition, which was formed for small businesses by small businesses to highlight to lawmakers that the rural economy matters. Stonehenge Capital, an original member of the Rural Jobs Coalition, has been on the frontline of utilizing private capital and public private partnerships to support economic growth and job creation in rural communities.
“The goal of the Rural Jobs Coalition is to be the voice of rural America and its entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said Ledet. “We look forward to facilitating discussions with policymakers on ways to revitalize our rural communities and bring our strategic partnerships to the table to contribute to the critical work of SARL.”
RJC and Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Workshop
The Rural Jobs Coalition arranged for a workshop with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce earlier this month in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2019 Convention in Nashville. The workshop included two panel sessions: the first was on rural investment and economic development needs; and the second was on federal opportunity zones and how certain states and localities are investigating leveraging these zones to help provide additional incentives in adjacent or nearby economically challenged areas to attract investment. The event at the Chamber’s offices was well attended by representatives from numerous states.
Rural Jobs Coalition Applauds HB203 Moving Forward on Strong Committee Vote
Rural Jobs Coalition Applauds HB203 Moving Forward on Strong Committee Vote
HB203, the Kentucky Rural Jobs Act, Spurs Private Investments in Rural Counties Across Kentucky
Washington, DC (February 28, 2019) – This morning, the Kentucky House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee passed HB203 out of committee on a unanimous vote. In response, Ab Basu, Executive Director for the Rural Jobs Coalition released the following statement:
“We applaud the committee for its unanimous vote to move House Bill 203, the Kentucky Rural Jobs Act, forward and commend Kentucky State Representative John Blanton for his leadership on this issue. HB 203 has the potential to transform rural communities across Kentucky, creating up to $150 million in new capital for small, rural businesses to grow, create new jobs, and strengthen the local workforce. We urge the General Assembly to move this important policy forward.”
Rex Martin represents the Rural Jobs Coalition in Topeka, Kansas
This morning, Rex Martin represented the Rural Jobs Coalition in Topeka, Kansas. He testified before the Kansas Senate Commerce Committee in support of HB2168 – the proposed ‘Ad Astra Rural Jobs Act’. The Rural Jobs Coalition urges the Kansas Senate to pass the bill and cites Kansas manufacturing employment at the lowest in a decade and in need of private sector capital infusion. Mr. Martin stated that outside of the Kansas City and related metro areas of the state, there is a critical lack of access to capital by rural small businesses. Rural Jobs legislation could do much to help improve the rural economy in the state.
Rural Jobs Coalition Attends the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) Trade Talk
Representatives of the Rural Jobs Coalition attended the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) Trade Talk event earlier in November in Kansas City. NAFB is the established organization that liaises between farm broadcast stations/networks and the rural agricultural community of companies and marketing agencies. They represent approximately 1300 radio stations based in 28 states; however, with broadcast range and the internet go well beyond these states. 76% of farmers listen to farm radio for their news. Their national convention included a who’s who of agriculture attending for networking activities including government officials, companies, associations and public relations agencies. NAFB’s key event, Trade Talk, connected the agricultural and rural industries and allies with member broadcasters to discuss issues and topics important to their organizations, associations and companies. More than 120 farm broadcasters went booth to booth to conduct on average over 2,500 interviews over a 6.5-hour event. In these photos, Rex Martin with Rural Jobs Coalition is interviewed by Ken Root of the Iowa Ag Network, and also by the Von Ketelsen Carroll Broadcasting Company.
2016 National Conference of State Legislators
The Coalition recently held a panel discussion in Chicago in conjunction with the National Conference of State Legislators’ 2016 States’ Summit Convention. Ab Basu moderated the panel which focused on the lack of access to capital by rural small businesses. Panelists in the photo are, from left to right, Nebraska Senator John Stinner, Utah Representative Lee Perry, RJC Executive Director Ab Basu, Mason Manufacturing President Bob McKinley (small business in Decatur IL), Utah Senator Lyle Hillyard, and Kentucky Representative Chris Harris.
Council of State Governments Midwest Legislative Conference
Rural Jobs Coalition’s Ab Basu was a speaker on a luncheon panel at the Council of State Governments Midwest Legislative Conference in Milwaukee in late July. Over 70 state legislators from all eleven midwest states attended the lunch session. The panel discussed rural economic development challenges and opportunities.
Kentucky Rural Jobs Act: State Rep. Chris Harris discusses proposal
FRANKFORT, Ky. – State Rep. Chris Harris presented details of his proposed Kentucky Rural Jobs Act before the Kentucky General Assembly’s recent meeting of the Subcommittee on Economic Development Task Force at Shelby Valley High School in Pike County.
Rep. Harris, D-Pike County, told legislators gathered for the September 15th meeting that he will introduce legislation to encourage more access to investment capital for outside investors, entrepreneurs and business owners in the state’s rural areas during the 2017 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
“It’s critical that we encourage investment in struggling areas of our state, especially here in Eastern Kentucky where the decline in the coal industry has led to staggering job losses, “Rep. Harris said. “The Kentucky Rural Jobs Act focuses on job creation and retention by promoting increased access to capital in 107 of the Commonwealth’s 120 counties, from the coal fields of Eastern Kentucky to the corn fields of Western Kentucky.”
Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, federal banking regulations intended to reign in big banks and reform the financial industry to protect consumers have had a crippling effect on smaller community banks which historically offered financing opportunities in our rural areas. Community banks across the nation have been forced to sell to larger banks, merge or simply close their doors because they are simply unable to meet the stringent regulatory compliance requirements contained in Dodd-Frank.
The Kentucky Rural Jobs Act will raise pools of affordable capital for small business that are not project specific. It also includes provisions that follow an established federal certification process and relies on private sector decision-making for choosing investments. Rep. Harris said the legislation will include important safeguards to ensure that the funds invested will result in job creation and a positive economic impact.
“As the legislation continues to take form, I want to ensure that it not only increases access to capital, but allows us to promote Kentucky’s greatest natural resource – our people,” Rep. Harris said.
Rep. Harris represents the state’s 93rd House District in Pike and Martin Counties.Constituents with questions or concerns can contact Rep. Harris by calling the Legislative Message Line toll-free at 1-800-372-7181.