Obama Administration officials are fanning out across the countryside to announce projects paid for (or not) by the stimulus bill passed earlier this year. Vice President Joe Biden and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack went to Pikeville, North Carolina, where they promoted the construction of a new station for the volunteer fire department. Biden told the crowd gathered in the old fire station (above) that he comes “from a state that is a rural state” — Delaware. He said that Vilsack “has probably forgotten more about rural America than most people know.”
Raleigh News & Observer writer Mark Johnson wrote that the “Obama administration is working to draw attention to money for rural communities, where gravel roads and volunteer fire departments are the norm. The moves come as irritation and anger are rising over federal money that has been streaming to Wall Street, banks and car companies.” Besides the million dollars for the new fire station, Biden and Vilsack talked about $635,000 in federal money that will hire two doctors, two nurses and three other workers at the Goshen Medical Cener in Faison.
N.C. state Sen. David Rouzer (a Republican) said the money for the fire station had been approved during the Bush Administration. “They’re coming in and cherry picking the best projects and switching out the money, saying it’s stimulus money,” Rouzer said. “But it was already approved and in the pipeline.”