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Bullock unveils plan to support rural communities

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock‘s (D) presidential campaign unveiled a new plan Wednesday intended to help rural communities across America “recover and thrive.” 

The plan comes as Bullock doubles down on his rural and bipartisan bona fides. Bullock was reelected in an agricultural state in 2016 that overwhelmingly voted for President Trump that same year. 

“As the Governor of a state with one of the highest percentages of rural residents in the West, Steve knows rural America is full of opportunity because he’s lived it. Rural America has a remarkable commitment to service, deeply held values for family and community, and countless success stories that can help all Americans move our country forward,” he said in the plan. 

Bullock, who has staked himself out as a centrist in a primary field packed with high-profile progressives, took a swipe at more liberal candidates in the primary, saying his proposal doesn’t “just throw out lofty plans that can’t be implemented.”

The Montana Democrat said his first priority as president would be to establish an Office of Rural Affairs within the White House that would report directly to him and oversee the development of policies across several executive departments and agencies.

To help farmers and ranchers, Bullock’s plan calls for an end to the White House’s trade wars, as well as legislation to allow lower-interest loans and student loan reduction opportunities for people who work in agriculture.

The plan also calls for an increase in access to disaster aid and stepped up efforts to boost enrollment in Agriculture Department programs among farmers of color.

Bullock said he would support food and agricultural development centers across the country and invest $61 billion to expand broadband access.

He would also work with Congress to allocate additional funds to continue growth in wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, among other things, according to the plan.

Though Bullock has emphasized his ability to win Trump voters in a cycle in which polls show Democratic voters are putting a premium on electability, he has struggled to break through in polls. He failed to qualify for the September debate, though still has time to reach the Democratic National Committee’s threshold for the October debate.

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