After a colorful visit in Dillingham on Wednesday — complete with highlights like being spawned on and busting a groove with local gradeschoolers — the president got a first-hand look at rural food prices at the N&N Market.
“One of the reasons we stopped by along with Ralph is just to highlight the fact that obviously this is a great grocery store, folks do great work, but because everything has to be shipped in, the costs for folks living in Dillingham and a lot of the villages along Bristol Bay end up being extraordinary,” the president said. ” You’re looking at prices that are double, in some cases, or even higher for basic necessities like milk, like orange juice, like other produce.”
The president went on:
“That’s part of the reason why the subsistence economy is so important and why fishing is so important. But it’s also why folks like Ralph and some of the various tribal organizations are trying to do more economic development in the area in order to start making some of these things more affordable, but also having more locally produced stuff that can end up cutting prices and create jobs in the region. So we’re going to be working on some ideas on economic development in the region.”
At one point during the visit, Obama got distracted by a baby, which he bounced up and down in his arms. The baby’s mother looked on incredulously, apparently shocked to find the president at her local market.
Eventually, the baby was returned. Obama quickly greeted a couple other customers.
“Hey, what happened to you, man?” Obama asked a young man with his arm in a sling. The president told the shoppers that it’s so nice to be here and repeated the pledge to bring Michelle and the girls back to the area one day.
The president then invited the press corps to stock up on any supplies they might need. “I’m going to be shaking some hands,” he said.
After spending about five minutes at the store, the visit to the N&N Market concluded and the motorcade headed back to the Dillingham airport.