NORTHFIELD, Minn. (AP) – President Joe Biden visited a family-run farm in Minnesota on Wednesday and held a fundraiser featuring prominent state Democrats. During his visit, he championed his administration’s commitment to investing in rural America, making substantial political moves on the home turf of his 2024 primary challenger, Representative Dean Phillips.
The president announced an investment of more than $5 billion, primarily directed toward rural areas. This funding will support efforts to adapt agriculture to climate change, expand high-speed internet access, and improve local infrastructure. These investments are made possible through the infrastructure and inflation reduction laws championed by President Biden and passed through Congress.
Addressing a crowd inside a barn at Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, located about 40 miles south of Minneapolis, Biden emphasized the significance of these investments. He stated, “Instead of exporting jobs overseas for cheaper labor, now we’re creating jobs here and expanding American products and selling them overseas. We’re not only transforming rural communities, but we’re also transforming our economy.”
The Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, accompanied President Biden on this trip. Members of the president’s Cabinet, including Vilsack, will spend the coming weeks traveling to various states to promote the administration’s investments. Vilsack referred to Wednesday’s announcement as “an exciting opportunity to celebrate the importance of rural America,” while President Biden emphasized that the effort is not only about “investing in rural America” but also “restoring pride in rural communities that had been left behind for far too long.”
The White House clarified that this Minnesota visit was planned prior to Representative Phillips’ announcement of his candidacy last week and has no direct relation to his challenge. Phillips is currently the sole elected Democrat who has entered the presidential race against Biden.
Representative Phillips, aged 54, is considered a moderate and represents the well-to-do and predominantly Democratic Minneapolis suburbs. He has been vocal since last year about his belief that President Biden should not seek reelection, suggesting that he should step aside to make room for a new generation. Phillips points to polls indicating that voters, including many Democrats, have concerns about the 80-year-old president’s age and electability against former President Donald Trump, who is the leading Republican contender.
Biden’s trip, occurring shortly after Phillips’ announcement, could serve to limit potential support for his nascent primary challenger. The fundraiser following the farm visit featured several prominent Minnesota Democrats and Governor Tim Walz.