Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement on the administration’s all-of-government plan to provide rural communities with additional federal funds and services. A strong advocate for Nevada’s rural and agricultural communities, Cortez Masto passed legislation in 2018 calling for this collaborative mechanism to help leverage resources across all federal agencies to assist rural areas in all areas — from improving infrastructure, broadband and affordable housing, to accessing financial capital.
“I’ve worked hard to ensure federal, state, and local governments coordinate to better serve Nevada’s rural areas,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The administration’s new plan to support rural communities builds on my work to address their unique needs. This program will help rural areas access federal resources, like those I secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and I’ll continue to work to make sure Nevada’s rural communities receive the tools and resources they need to thrive.”
Led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Rural Partners Network is a new collaboration between federal agencies, local leaders, and residents. This initiative is focused on making government resources more accessible to rural communities. Today’s announcement also noted that the USDA will seek to expand this initiative and work directly with Nevada rural communities later in the year.
To focus on infrastructure needs for rural Nevada, the senator ensured the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law reauthorized funding for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program for 2021-2023 to assist rural communities, provided more than $100 million for broadband in Nevada, and included her bipartisan Connected Rural Schools Act to help rural counties with internet access at local schools. In 2021, the Senator also passed her bipartisan ACCESS BROADBAND Act to further help in this mission of making federal broadband funding easier to access and to better track those funds to help ensure rural communities get more internet opportunities.
Since coming to the Senate, Senator Cortez Masto has taken direct input from rural Nevadans about the need and challenges of accessing federal grant funding. She has introduced bipartisan legislation to put rural Western communities on an equal footing when it comes to applying for critical infrastructure grants to improve school buildings, promote small businesses, and bolster telehealth and health care services. She’s passed essential funding and introduced comprehensive legislation to help improve wildfire prevention efforts, fund state-of-the-art firefighting equipment and programs, and support recovery efforts for communities impacted by fires.