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One Country Announces Congressional Recipients of 2023 Rural Champion Awards

December 6, 2023
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One Country Announces Congressional Recipients of 2023 Rural Champion Awards

Members of Congress are Recognized for Their Dedication to Uplifting Rural Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, One Country Project (OCP) recognized Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representatives Gabe Vasquez (D-NM-02) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-03) as 2023 Rural Champions. Additionally, OCP is honored to grant Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) the Lifetime Rural Champion Award.

The OCP Rural Champion Award celebrates lawmakers who have provided bipartisan leadership and advanced legislation to support agriculture, diversify the rural economy, and improve the well-being of rural residents. This year’s awardees have shown up for rural America and align strongly with OCP’s mission of reopening dialogue, rebuilding trust and respect, and advancing opportunities for rural Americans and their communities.

The Lifetime Rural Champion Award recognizes a member who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to improving the lives of rural communities across the country throughout their time in office. With a presidential election and the potential renewal of the Farm Bill fast approaching, 2024 will be a vital year for rural America. We are confident that our champions will continue the fight for policies and leaders that uplift hardworking rural Americans and that they will motivate their colleagues to do the same.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Over the course of her 22-year career, Senator Stabenow has taken great strides to better the lives of rural communities in Michigan and across the country. She penned the 2014 Farm Bill that led to historic investments in land and water conservation and local food systems, as well as the 2018 Farm Bill, which received the highest number of votes for a Farm Bill in history. She is also an advocate for rural health care and health care workers. She co-sponsored the Rural Hospital Support Act and Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act, authored the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act, and sponsored the Rural Veterinary Workforce Act. Earlier this year, she secured over $38 million in funding for rural communities in Michigan through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Senator Stabenow’s tenure in Congress has demonstrated her deep care for rural constituents. She embodies what it means to work for rural America, and we are honored to recognize the work she has done.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Senator Murkowski understands how important federal economic support is for rural communities and has constantly worked to deliver that support in her time in office. She sponsored the Rural America Health Corps Act, a bill that provides loan repayments to health care workers in rural communities, the Rural Energy Savings Act, which cut costs of energy improvement in rural homes, and co-sponsored the Secure Rural Schools Reauthorization Act of 2023, which reauthorized funding for schools, libraries, and public safety services. Her record of fighting for meaningful financial support for multiple valuable programs shows her commitment to investing in rural America.

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)

Senator Tester is a fierce advocate for health care reform in rural communities, working to ensure the sick and elderly are not left behind. This year, he sent two letters, one himself and one alongside fellow senators, to the Biden Administration to prevent the implementation of staffing mandates that would undermine access to care for rural patients. Additionally, Senator Tester sponsored two bills, the Patients Before Middlemen Act and Pharmacy DIR Reform to Reduce Senior Drug Costs Act, to lower drug costs and prevent Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from price gouging that will soon go to the Senate floor. We commend Senator Tester’s leadership and his efforts to address the health care inequities that harm rural communities.

Representative Gabe Vasquez (D-NM-02)

A member of the House Agriculture Committee and the Future Farmers of America Caucus, Congressman Vasquez is constantly working to deliver for rural workers. His support for the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act as well as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Rural and Remote Hiring and Retention Strategy Act demonstrate his commitment to creating and boosting rural employment opportunities. Congressman Vasquez co-sponsored the REACH Our Tribes Act and sponsored the Parity for Tribal Educators Act to provide Tribal Governments with necessary resources for development and education. He is also the sponsor of the Community Facilities Program for Rural Clean School Bus Infrastructure Act, which gives local communities support in the buildout of clean school bus charging infrastructure through direct loans and grants. As a co-lead of the Combating Rural Inflation Act, Congressman Vasquez continues to uplift rural priorities by shining a light on how rural communities face different economic conditions than their urban counterparts, and open up economic opportunities.

Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-03)

A native of rural Washington state, Congresswoman Perez has a track record of fighting for rural causes in her time in office. As a guest on OCP’s Hot Dish podcast, Congresswoman Perez laid out the importance of connecting with rural Americans and how to best reach and represent them from Washington, D.C. She has introduced and supported legislation that deals with rural childcare, internet access, loan access, and manufacturing. She is also working to establish a budgetary Tribal Government consultation process which will provide access to economic development for Indigenous people through the REACH Our Tribes Act, which will bring equitable financial opportunities to a large segment of many rural populations.


About One Country Project
Rural America holds an essential role in moving the United States forward and the One Country Project is dedicated to ensuring Rural America’s priorities and values are heard and reflected in policy at the federal level. To learn more, visit us at www.onecountryproject.com or on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted on December 6, 2023 in Press Releases.
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