Rep. Arrington works with policy experts at West Texas Summit to - FOX34 Lubbock

Rep. Arrington works with policy experts at West Texas Summit to spur rural development

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Congressman Jodey Arrington visited with top policy experts and leaders in agriculture at The West Texas Summit to discuss rural development. 

Arrington said there are multiple issues plaguing Rural America's growth in areas like West Texas. 

"There are issues that are coming up consistently, challenges that these communities face that are unique to Rural America," Rep. Arrington said. "Whether it is immigration, whether it is access to high speed internet, public housing, criminal justice issues, mental health, opioids, and so we wanted to convene."

The congressman said the Farm Bill and recently passed tax reform are avenues they believe can help jump start rural development. 

"It's pro-agriculture, it's pro-energy, it's pro-family, so I think that has been the basis for a strategy to grow our economy," Rep. Arrington said. 

USDA Assistant to the Secretary of Rural Development Anne Hazlett said she believes infrastructure including water and a digital divide highlight the issues in Rural America. 

"In Rural America there are several infrastructure gaps that need to be addressed and so today we are here specifically to talk about water and the importance of high speed internet," Hazlett said. 

Hazlett also added that the USDA has a plan in place to help resolve water shortages in regions like West Texas.

"So we have a program at USDA that provides low interest and long term financing as well as grant dollars to go with these loans and we can use that to help communities both with water quantity and water quality issues," Hazlett said.

Congressman Arrington also added that Rural America's development is directly tied to the prosperity of the U.S. economy. 

"What we do in Rural America is critical to our nation's economy and security," Rep. Arrington said. "We have to be able to feed and clothe ourselves. We have to have energy dependence if we are going to be strong, safe, and free."

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