STOCKBRIDGE — Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg touted presidential candidate Joe Biden’s plans for rural Americans at a visit to a Boring Farms in Stockbridge on Monday.
Buttigieg, joined by U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, and sixth generation farmer Tim Boring, spoke to a socially distanced group seated inside a barn after his tour of the farm.
Biden and his running mate, Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, would expand internet access in rural communities and build programs that support new farmers, expand regional markets and promote biofuels, Buttigieg said.
They also would help farmers working to be leaders in environmental conservation, especially in slowing climate change, he said.
“We’ve got to talk about rural America as the solution on climate change,” Buttigieg said. “Too often, there’s a vocabulary to tell some folks they’re part of the problem. The reality is, we won’t be able to do what this country needs to do to lead the world on climate change unless rural America, agriculture specifically, leads the charge.”
Buttigieg, who ran against Biden in the Democratic presidential primaries earlier this year, argued Biden will do more for rural Americans than his Republican contender, President Donald Trump. He said Trump has not followed through on promises he made early in his term, like improving the country’s infrastructure.
Buttigieg said he is hopeful Biden can draw votes from rural, traditionally conservative districts, citing the economic uncertainty caused by the trade war with China and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s discouraging comments about the future of small farms.
“I think there’s a lot of folks who have voted Republican their whole lives, out of habit if nothing else, who are starting to say, ‘Wait a minute, this isn’t me,'” he said.
Buttigieg’s tour of Boring Farms was one of three stops for the Biden campaign Monday. He also visited Mitten Brewery in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
Those cities tell the Midwestern story, he said during his stop at the Boring farm.
“The Midwest is full of people who believe in decency and kindness, empathy and respect, and also people in the cities from the manufacturing economy to rural areas and farming,” he said. “They deserve a president who actually cares, who has a plan and knows what he’s doing. That’s what they have in Joe Biden.”