April 1, 2009
Biden on the Record: Recovery Act and Rural America
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. The Secretary of Agriculture and I have been friends, as you could probably tell, since the ’80s. Tom was one of the finest governors in the United States of America. He, literally, has probably forgotten more about rural America than most people know. As the governor of Iowa — and the commitment he made to economic development to these clinics in his own state — all that he did before he was willing to come on and be the Secretary of Agriculture.
So I am not being solicitous when I say the President and I are incredibly fortunate to have someone who, quite frankly, knows even more about this than both the President and I know. And that’s what you try to do, hire on people who really know what they’re talking about.
I come from a state that is a rural state. Most people think Delaware and out west — they think Delaware is the northeast. Well, it’s part of the Delmarva Peninsula — Delaware, Maryland, Virginia. Our largest industry, by far, is agriculture. It’s not banking. It’s not chemicals. It’s not what people think. It’s agriculture.
And what Tom said about the values is absolutely — absolutely clear. And so when I — when we — I asked Tom, I went to the Secretary, and I said: “Give me a place; what’s one of the best examples that you can show, we could show, the world, the nation, as to why what we’re doing in the stimulus package is worthwhile and that people are getting their bang for the buck, that it really makes a difference?”
And he said — he turned around and, Doc, he said, we should come and see you. (Laughter.) No, I’m serious, because you are helping create — all of you are helping create a better reality for people in the eastern Carolinas here. You’re creating a better reality for the people in this neighborhood. And I mean that in a broad sense.
And it’s great to see, firsthand, how together you all work. The fact that I think — the press who has followed me may not fully appreciate what Dr. Bound said, that the money that is available from the federal government — what we’re going to talk about today — he has gone out and leveraged, roughly 4 to 1, to do a whole lot of things that increase the well-being in this community. And everybody here — as I’ve gone around to clinics — seems to be acting with that sense of community.
And speaking of sense of community, you don’t have to look much further than down the road at Carthage. First, our deep condolences go out to the families of the victims of that nursing home shooting. But the damage could have been far worse for the entire town if it hadn’t been for a young officer, a 25 year old policeman named Justin Garner, who displayed the courage and character that I think is reflective of the kind of courage and character so many people in rural America — where people don’t pay attention to — actually display every single day for their communities.