Investing in Rural Communities to Make All of Colorado Stronger

Even though Colorado has been a national leader in growth, job creation, and innovation during Michael’s time in the Senate, too many rural communities have not shared fully in that success. Michael believes our nation’s long-term prosperity depends on a thriving rural America and that we have an obligation to support locally-driven efforts to maintain the health and heritage of Colorado’s rural communities.

In the Senate, Michael has introduced legislation to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, which supports schools, roads, bridges, and emergency services in 43 Colorado counties. He also helped secure full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program so Colorado counties can carry out vital services like fire and police protection, school construction, and road maintenance.

Michael understands that access to high-speed, affordable broadband is essential to succeed in the 21st century economy. Following years of work with local leaders in Red Cliff and Silverton, Michael helped expand reliable broadband to the communities. To further close the digital divide, Michael continues to urge the Federal Communications Commission to make its funding programs more transparent and level the playing field for smaller, rural providers to compete for federal funding. In 2018, he launched Connect Colorado, an initiative to ensure that federal agencies are responsive to questions and concerns that Colorado’s rural providers have as they apply for future FCC and USDA funding.  

Colorado’s coal communities have been hit hard economically by a long-term decline in coal demand that has accelerated over the last decade. In response to this economic reality, Michael introduced legislation to spur investment, job creation, and economic growth in these communities. Through tax cuts and support for high-quality worker training, the Coal Community Empowerment Act would provide coal communities the support they need to thrive again in today’s economy.

Related News