Kamala Harris should be the de facto secretary of rural development, in charge of closing the connectivity gap

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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is too smart and energetic to be just the vice president, a position with few official responsibilities. I’d love to see President-elect Joe Biden give her a more important job: his de facto secretary of rural development, in charge of closing the opportunity gap, the connectivity gap, the learning gap, the start-up gap — and the anger and alienation gap — between rural America and the rest of the country. On policy specifics, the Biden-Harris team should commit that in four years every rural community in America will have access to broadband — the basic infrastructure needed for an inclusive modern economy. But while better connectivity is necessary, it’s not sufficient. “We also need to ensure investment in digital skills training in rural communities and incentives for tech companies to hire remote workers in small towns,” said Matt Dunne, founder of the Center on Rural Innovation. “Today rural America represents 15 percent of the nation’s work force, but only 5 percent of digital economy jobs of the future. But the pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the idea that digital economy jobs can be created anywhere.” Kamala Harris is a natural for that task. Who better to bridge Silicon Valley and the rural valleys of America?

Kamala Harris Deserves a More Important Job