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'Hometown Strong' will help rural communities in North Carolina

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I grew up and raised my family in Nash County in rural eastern North Carolina. Small towns and rural communities like mine offer special opportunities for so many families. I want them to prosper.

In rural North Carolina, you find strong people who are driven by purpose and committed to working together: neighbor helping neighbor. You will find local farms like I used to work on, and family-owned businesses, like I used to own. You'll find space to breathe, more affordable living and a pace of life that gives you time to enjoy it. Signs of faith, family and community are everywhere.

My commitment to rural North Carolina is personal. I understand the opportunities and challenges our rural communities face. And my administration is making them a priority.

We need state government to work efficiently and keep open lines of communication with local governments. We should listen to local leaders about their opportunities and challenges and let their innovation guide the way.

That's why I'm launching Hometown Strong, a new partnership with rural communities that focuses on strengthening local economies, improving infrastructure and broadband access and boosting our workforce training efforts.

We'll bring state agencies into partnership with local leaders and stakeholders to create lasting improvements to rural economies by using resources that may already be available.

Families in rural communities aren't looking for mandates from Raleigh - they want state government to listen and help when asked. We don't need a new agency or more bureaucracy. 

Instead, we're creating a small action team to coordinate and partner with local governments to leverage resources, work together and ensure that rural communities are getting the most bang for the buck out of state government.

We'll coordinate with existing organizations and work with existing resources to make sure we're giving rural North Carolina the support necessary to create good jobs and opportunity for families who live there.

When you face a challenge in rural communities, you gather everyone around the table to solve it. State government can use more of that.

That's Hometown Strong.

Roy Cooper is the 75th governor of North Carolina. This column originally appeared on the website Medium.com.

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