Growing Our Rural Economies: Protecting the Jobs We Have and Creating New Ones

The biggest issue we face here in the Southern Tier, Western New York, and the Finger Lakes is jobs. Time and again, Washington and the economy have left our rural communities behind. My top priority in Congress will be protecting the jobs we still have and building the conditions to create new ones. To do so, I will fight every day to prioritize the needs of our workers, while also making sure our entrepreneurs have the resources and conditions to make their business plans a reality.

I will start by opposing bad trade deals that disadvantage our region because any plan to grow our jobs must start by protecting the ones we have. I am proud to stand with our unions in fighting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Unions are the keepers of the middle class in America – fighting for good jobs and a living wage throughout our district and across New York.

We also need to make sure businesses and entrepreneurs see our region as an area worth taking a risk in. The areas that do best create environments that allow people to take risks. This means championing our region as a hotbed for the next economic wave of creating and installing renewable energy technologies, and making our rural communities more attractive for investments by upgrading infrastructure and promoting true high-speed internet and better cell phone coverage throughout our region. Securing a strong economic future also includes making college more affordable so our students can stay here and pursue new ventures without being chained to decades of debt.

At the same, we need to recognize a fundamental truth: that government is not designed to and is not capable of fixing all of our problems. And without proper research or oversight, government policies can cause as many or more economic problems than they prevent. There are many cases where unnecessary red tape or the passage of bad trade deals have been very harmful to our rural communities. That’s why one key component for boosting our rural economies is reevaluating regulations on a routine basis, cutting excessive interference where it exists, and reversing policies that have unintended negative consequences.

My approach of putting our people first to grow our economy comes from my 22 years of service as a U.S. Navy officer. However, in the military, I also learned that you need to take responsibility. That principle should extend to Congress when it comes to budgeting. If we are smarter about controlling our spending and our budget, investing in our rural communities can be done without passing the buck of increased debt on to our future generations.

I grew up in the Southern Tier. I know that our workers are the lifeblood of our communities and that our small businesses are innovative and resilient. I know that if we are given a fair shot, we can thrive again. That’s a challenging mission - but that is also why I’m running for Congress. Western New York and the Southern Tier have been my family’s home for four generations and I know we can do better with a new representative that puts our people first.

Key Priorities

  • Fight Bad Trade Deals: Fight against bad trade deals – like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – so we can put a stop to our jobs being shipped overseas.
  • Promote Renewable Energy and Upgrade Infrastructure: Champion renewable energy so our rural economies are a part of this growing economic wave, and upgrade our crumbling roads and bridges.
  • Create the Conditions for Entrepreneurs to Succeed: Eliminate damaging, unnecessary red tape and provide resources so our entrepreneurs have a better environment to make their business plans a reality.
  • Improve College Affordability: Help students finance and refinance their student loans at competitive rates or pay them back as a percentage of their income so they can afford to stay and work in our district and take risks while they’re young.
  • Promote True High-Speed Internet for Rural Communities: Connect our rural communities to the free flow of online commerce, customers, and clients with true high-speed internet and improved rural cell phone coverage.
  • Get Spending Under Control: Washington needs to get its spending under control so we can strengthen our economy today and in the future without continuing to pass the buck on to future generations.

Here’s a link to check out my full plan.



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John Plumb is a member of the United States Navy Reserve. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or Department of Defense.

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