Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly spoke at a Steering and Outreach Committee Rural Summit and led a panel with the Executive Director of the White House Rural Council on the challenges facing rural communities as well as potential pathways to success. During his remarks, Donnelly discussed the opioid abuse and heroin epidemics, the need for improved health care infrastructure, and how to address shrinking job opportunities which are obstacles to rural success both in Indiana and in other rural communities across the country. Donnelly also spoke about the students of Austin High School in Austin, Indiana, where he recently gave the commencement address, as an example of optimism and resilience in the face of adversity.
Donnelly said, “Opioid abuse, lack of health infrastructure, and shrinking job opportunities are some of the very real challenges facing rural communities. But within each of these challenges there also are opportunities to strengthen rural communities, and more importantly there are the talented people, like those here today, with the commitment to do just that.”
Two Hoosiers were among the participants at the summit: Tim Putnam, President and CEO of Margaret Mary Health in Batesville, and Nikki King, Administrative Fellow at Margaret Mary Health in Batesville.