Chloe Carson is an 18-year-old Brownstown High School senior, very sweet and courteous. She likes animals, is active in school, and sings in her church’s choir and at school.
She is very caring about her community and neighbors, and is interested in what the future holds for the small towns and communities, and especially the farmers, so interested and caring that, as part of a school assignment, she wrote a letter sharing her concerns to President Barack Obama.
Her letter not only got the attention of the domestic policy council, but also reached the desk of the president, which resulted in his response to her letter.
Chloe gave us permission to share her letter and President Obama’s letter in response to her concerns and questions She also shared the story and her reaction to the letter from the president.
“Last school year, I was taking the school publications class (the class where we learn to maintain the school website) at school,” she said. “In January, our teacher (Travis Redden) decided to do a unit from a book that contained letters written to various presidents. He had all of the students in the class write a letter about an issue that they were passionate about.”
“I wrote my letter about problems in rural communities and addressed topics such as unemployment, lack of education, issues facing farmers.
“Within a couple of weeks. most of the students had received automated return letters via email, but I was yet to hear anything.”
“In August, I had completely forgotten about my letter, because I figured it had slipped through the cracks. One evening though, there was a package that had been shipped for me. Apparently, the White House thought I was important because they shipped it UPS and marked it extremely urgent,” she said.
“The package contained a response, which I choose to believe came straight from the president’s desk, which addressed the topics from my previous letter.
“A few weeks later, I had an interesting phone call. A man from the White House was calling on behalf of the domestic policy council to ask if they could use my letter for a meeting at Penn State where they were discussing rural issues. I guess they wanted to have real-life issues to talk about. Naturally, I agreed.
“After another couple of weeks, I saw a news story from Richmond, Va., where a reporter had posted my letter and the return letter on his Facebook. For a while, it was all over the place, but it kind of died down.
“I’m pretty sure it is still online, but I haven’t checked for a while,” she said.
Chloe’s Letter to the President
Jan. 19, 2016
Dear Mr. President,
I admire you. The decision to become the president and take responsibility for an entire country requires courage far greater than I could muster. However, I have a few questions as to some of the problems in our country.
I live in a rural community where half of the town’s population are farmers and the other half commutes to a city half an hour away or more. Our community offers many pros, but also many cons, such as unemployment and poor education. How do you plan to fix these problems?
My family has been in farming for years. When I was young, I watched my father and grandfather work from before the sun came up to after I went to bed in order to provide our family with an income.
Now, grain prices are dropping so low that farmers across the nation are beginning to question whether they will be able to make a profit. America produces food and products to be shipped around the world, yet often in our own small towns, many cannot even make a proper living without federal assistance.
“As in many rural areas, the school system could be described as less than stellar. Our teachers are all dedicated to bringing us an education, but lack of funding continually diminishes their numbers and the class’s available.
When students in an area with few opportunities do not receive a proper education, they are unprepared for college. Students that do poorly in college or are unable to attend, often have dilemmas when applying for jobs. Thus, the cycle of unemployment continues.
During your presidency, you have been busy with controversial topics, such as gun control, refugees and health insurance, but what do you plan to do about the above addressed issues, the problems that affect the average men and women who form the backbone of our country and work hard every day in our struggling workforce?
What can we do to help the children who will grow up and take the place of our parents?
We must fix these problems first, Mr. President, if we wish to maintain the United States of America.
Signed, Respectfully, Chloe Carson
President Obama’s Return Letter to Chloe:
The White House
Aug. 30, 2016
Thank you for writing. Your note reached my desk and I recognize the struggle your community is going through.
You’re right that rural communities are the backbone of our nation, and I assure you I will continue to fight for investment in places like Brownstown.
I agree that a brighter future for rural America means guaranteeing every child has access to a world-class education. It also means creating more jobs, empowering workers with skills to do these jobs, and building more ladders of opportunity into the middle class for anyone who is willing to work hard to climb them, no matter where they live.
I hope you know that voices like yours are critical to this conversation, because there is a lot more to do!
My administration is pushing for rural schools to get the funding they need to support education worthy of their students. We are working to fight rural poverty, expand broadband access and empower local businesses and communities so rural economics can more easily get back on their feet.
We have also implemented the 2011 farm Bill in record time so that we could expand and strengthen the farm safety net. At a time when our economy is growing, we need to make sure every American shares in that growth.
And as long as I hold this office , I’ll keep doing everything I can to make that vision real.
It’s clear you care deeply for your community, and your passion for these issues will remain in my mind as I strive to ensure all Americans have a fair shot at the American dream.