You learn a lot from rural life. I certainly did growing up.
When my parents came to America from India, they settled in Bamberg, South Carolina – population 2,500. The small town represented the best of this country. As a child, I saw a deep love of freedom, a deep kind of faith, and a deep sense of community. Neighbors would help neighbors. It was one family.
Small-town life had a big impact on me. It shaped my view of America and my respect for the values that make our nation exceptional. And when I stepped into public service, especially as governor, I knew I had to represent the rural areas I grew up around. I fought for the people who others forget — the people who know this country is blessed, and bless it further by their hard work.
This was on my mind last week as I traveled through New Hampshire’s beautiful and rural North Country.
Like my hometown, the North Country is the kind of place that most people overlook and undervalue.
It’s off the beaten path, so candidates almost never go there. But it’s as much a part of New Hampshire as the rest of the state. For that matter, it’s every bit as American. And the great people who live there want a leader in Washington who will fight for them.
My time in the North Country took me far and wide. We started near the Maine border in North Conway and made our way across the state to Lancaster, Lincoln, Littleton, and Hanover. I answered voters’ questions at town halls, visited a local café (the cookies at The Moon Bakery and Café are worth it), talked with veterans on a motorcycle ride for charity, and attended a summer cookout.
People told me about the problems they face, and the problems facing America. They’re looking for the solutions that will help the North Country, and America, thrive.
There are so many challenges. Fentanyl is killing friends and loved ones. Despite President Joe Biden’s insistence that “Bidenomics is working,” inflation is still strangling family budgets. And parents who’ve sacrificed day after day wonder what kind of future their children will have. People are worried the next generation will be worse off, that America is in decline.
I understand the fear. China and Russia think we’re in decline, too. They see the Biden administration and so-called progressives destroying America from within by telling our children that the freest country in human history is racist. An entire generation is being raised to believe that America isn’t worth fighting for.
But I know better. And my message in the North Country was simple: America will survive.
How do I know this? Because we’re going to restore respect for the principles and practices that define places like North Conway, New Hampshire and Bamberg, South Carolina. We’re going to bring back America’s best.
The biggest reason our country is struggling right now is because too many people have forgotten that love of freedom, powerful faith, and profound community that exist in small towns. We need those things more than ever. We need to make America strong and proud again.
This starts by electing a new president. Biden has made America weak and woke, not strong and proud. When we defeat him next year, we can end this weakness and get rid of the wokeness.
That means securing our border and rebuilding our military. It means standing up to our enemies and having the backs of our allies. It means reining in reckless spending and building a booming economy that works for rural communities as much as big cities.
And it means moving people from welfare to work while preparing our children for a life of purpose and patriotism. We have to stop poisoning our children’s heads with lies. We need to tell them the truth: That even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America.
The good people in the North Country know it. I heard them say it, over and over. They’re proud of our past, but frustrated with the present. And they know we can make a change to ensure a brighter future.
It’s time we had a president who hears their voices and reflects their values. I will do just that.