Press Release

Welch Speaks About Strengthening Rural Communities at the Vermont Council on Rural Development Leadership Summit

Aug 15, 2023

RANDOLPH, VT – This morning, Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) addressed the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s (VCRD) 2023 Vermont Community Leadership Summit in Randolph, Vermont.  

The Senator spoke to approximately 500 attendees at the Vermont State University Randolph, including small business leaders, organizers, and local leaders, about the importance of building and supporting a strong community, especially in times of great challenge like during the recent catastrophic flooding. 

“It’s a radical political act to make that commitment to build a community, when and where you live. And that’s what I so appreciate about all of you and what you’re doing…The sustained commitment to your own family, your own community, your own local volunteer fire department, your local small bank, your local small business. That web of interconnections allows all of us in that community to feel somebody’s got our back, and where we can live with the confidence that our neighbor will have our back – that’s what gets us through,” said Sen. Welch during the summit.  

“Our goal with the federal aid [for flooding victims] is to make sure that the seventh-generation farmer, and others like them, are here another generation. Because we’ve got folks with small businesses – we’ve got folks whose homes have been devastated. We’ve got farmers who are making calculated decisions. And this is where the federal aid comes in, because we’ve got to make it possible for those folks to open the doors of their business for another day. We’ve got to make it possible for those family farmers to decide, ‘You know what, let’s keep this going and hope to get another generation.’ We’ve got to make that decision for that family who doesn’t know where they’re going to live, that there’s going to be a place for them in Vermont so they can continue to be part of our community. So, thank you all, for all that you do [to build community]. Because it is where you are doing it that ultimately it has to be done,” he concluded.

At the conclusion of his remarks, he introduced U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, who spent the day yesterday assessing flood damage and meeting with farmers at a seven-generation farm in Richmond, Vermont.  

Senator Welch is the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Rural Development and Energy Subcommittee, where he is focused on advancing economic opportunities and building a greener future for rural America. As Chair of the subcommittee, he has held hearings on the critical need to build out broadband in rural America, and the growing challenges facing our rural water systems as climate change impacts communities across the country.  

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a nonprofit organization based in Montpelier, focused on Vermont’s rural communities. Learn more here.