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Executive Order promoting competition is historic win for rural communities

The recently signed Biden Promoting Competition Executive Order is a giant victory for rural communities. The order calls for new and better rules to lower prices, increase wages, and promote innovation. The order establishes the “right to repair” which empowers people to fix their equipment and property without going to an authorized agent. It also improves country of origin labeling for agricultural producers, reduces prescription drug prices, expands internet access, and more.

For years, progressive rural organizations in the Rural Democracy Initiative (RDI) network have been fighting for these popular policies that will increase opportunity for workers and small businesses. The RDI-supported Rural Policy Action Summit highlighted many of these solutions as key priorities, and the resulting report provided a key tool for organizations to advocate for adopting these policies in 2021.

This victory was possible because of the organizations, donors, and funders that are supporting progressive rural organizing across the country. Here’s what others are saying about the Executive Order.

Joe Maxwell, president of Family Farm Action Alliance, said: “We thank President Biden for his bold and decisive actions today on behalf of family farmers and the American people. Family Farm Action Alliance and other food and farm organizations have worked tirelessly for the changes Biden has ordered. Not since Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt has a President taken on corporate power to this extent. This will likely be Biden’s legacy as it was theirs. We look forward to working with the administration to get these issues across the finish line.” (Read the full statement)

Matt Hildreth, executive director of RuralOrganizing.org, said: “Our extensive polling of rural voters consistently found this has been an important issue for rural voters, impacting small business and family farmers alike. Today, President Biden took a major step in the right direction with the new executive order to address competition and rein in monopolies.” (Read the full statement)

Shawn Phetteplace, state manager of the Wisconsin Main Street Alliance, and Julie Keown-Bomar, executive director of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, said: “We applaud this administration's actions to address oligopoly, or limited competition in the marketplace. For the first time in a long while, our members’ hopes are raised that some anti-capitalistic practices will be addressed. For example, currently only a few sellers control all the sales in many markets, barriers to entry are imposed, and corporate interdependence keeps prices high and competitors out. The president’s executive orders could begin to improve the vitality of our economy, reduce prices on goods and services, increase producers’ agency in the supply chain, and improve choices for consumers.” (Read the full article)

Tom Philpott in Mother Jones writes, “In the food economy, massive firms have exerted downward pressure on workers’ wages, boosting returns to shareholders while causing widespread poverty for farm, fast food, and meatpacking workers. . . . the Promoting Competition in the American Economy edict marks a start — and a break from a half-century of laissez-faire antitrust policy.” (Read the full article)