A recent Wall Street Journal analysis shows what any of us who travel outside cities already know: since the 1990s, rural counties have become America’s most troubled areas — and the decline is accelerating.
In terms of poverty, educational attainment, teenage births, divorce, death from heart disease and cancer, opioid addiction, reliance on federal disability insurance, and male labor-force participation, rural areas now rank the worse off than small- to medium metro areas, suburbs, or big cities. Not surprisingly, total rural population – accounting for births, deaths and migration – has declined for five straight years.
Rural New Mexico is worse off than the national averages. Our #1 in the nation unemployment rate and #2 poverty rate disproportionately hurt our rural counties.
Into this problem wades New Mexico’s junior senator, Martin Heinrich, who, along with his fellow congressional Democrats, spent untold tax dollars and staff time to produce a report titled, “Understanding Economic Challenges in Rural America.”
The report brings less information and understanding than The Wall Street Journal’s, which begs the question why Senator Heinrich did not simply pay for a newspaper subscription and save hard-working taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
But we know why: Heinrich’s votes have hurt rural America and New Mexico. Producing a report about the problems he made worse is his limp attempt to cover his failures as he faces his first re-election challenge in 2018.
Who does Martin Heinrich blame for rural America’s problems? Wall Street and President Trump. Ignoring how ridiculous it is to blame President Trump for a problem that his own report says has existed since the Great Recession of 2008, Heinrich also brands himself a hypocrite, because it is his votes that have decimated rural New Mexico. In Heinrich’s nine years in Congress, he has consistently voted:
- Against New Mexico’s military jobs
- Against New Mexico’s national laboratory jobs
- Against New Mexico’s energy and natural resources jobs
- Against New Mexicans’ use of public lands to earn a living
- Against securing our southern border to keep out drugs and gangs
What does Martin Heinrich suggest will solve rural America’s problems? “Congress must invest in developing the next generation of grant writers and civil servants to serve in small rural communities.”
Seriously, Sen. Heinrich? Your solution to rural unemployment is for the government to pay for more grant writers who will apply for more government handouts?
Talk about a coastal elite, nanny state worldview. You can’t make this stuff up.
“I can promise you,” Heinrich wrote when he released his report, “that I am working to develop real solutions that will actually work to make life better in rural America.”
Here is Martin Heinrich’s true view of rural New Mexico, based on his votes, not his promises. He is either:
- Unaware of what our state’s needs are – he represents California, not New Mexico
- Unaware of the consequences of his actions on our state
- Or, he just doesn’t care about us
The most obvious and devastating conclusion is that Sen. Heinrich cares more about his own career in the Democratic Party than he does for the people he was elected to represent.