Rural Progress Summit
It’s clear that rural America holds an essential role in moving our country forward and deciding who controls the agenda in Washington, D.C., yet rural America is often left out of important policy decisions. One Country Project’s Rural Progress Summit brought together rural stakeholders from across the country to ensure future policy considerations address the challenges rural communities face. Along with discussions of important rural priorities, we highlighted the vital role rural areas play in shaping the nation’s energy, economic, and agricultural future. On the heels of the inaugural Rural Progress Summit, the One Country Project released its Rural Horizons Poll, which revealed rural voters are in a challenging mood for Democrats, though they don’t believe either party is speaking to them.
Click on the links to watch all the panels and speakers from the 3-Day Summit here!
- Panel: Providing the Best Healthcare for Rural America with Dr. Richard Powers, Governor John Kitzhaber, Aidan O’Connor, critical care flight paramedic, and Sean Robbins, VP of External Affairs at BCBS, moderated by Leader Anthony Daniels
- Guest Speaker: Sister Simone Campbell
- Panel: The Future of Work in Rural America with Dr. Mittie Cannon, Power UP, Gabe Horwitz, Third Way, Shelly Steward, Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative, Matt Dune, Center on Rural Innovation, and Neela Mollgaard, Launch Minnesota, moderated by Senator Heidi Heitkamp
- Discussion: Building Consensus for an American Policy Plan with David Axelrod, founding director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, Mitch Landrieu, former Mayor of New Orleans, and Heidi Heitkamp, moderated by Representative Ashton Clemmons
- Panel: The Common Rural/Urban Policy Agenda with Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of Rural Telecom, Colleen Fisher, CEO of Council for Affordable and Rural Housing, and Julie Bomar, Executive Director of Wisconsin Farmers Union, moderated by Representative Ashton Clemmons
- Keynote Address: Whitney Kimball Coe
- Guest Speaker: Hanna Love on Changing Rural Demographics
- Research Presentation: Rural Organizing and Voter Persuasion with University of Chicago students Adam Zabner and Danny Vesecky
- Discussion: Paid Family Leave and Build Back Better with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
- Guest Speaker: Tim Luecke Shares Research for “Why Trump?”
- Guest Speaker: Laura Quinn on Misinformation in the Media
- Panel: Combatting the Spread of Disinformation with Art Cullen, Pulitzer Prize winning editor of Storm Lake Times, Laura Quinn, president of Catalist, Tyler Axness, North Dakota radio talk show host, Phil Snape, co-founder of Impact Social, and Tim Luecke, author of Why Trump?, moderated by J.D. Scholten
- Panel: Former Candidates with Jon Hoadley, former candidate for Congress in Michigan, Christina Hale, former candidate for Congress in Iowa, and JD Scholten, former candidate for Congress in Iowa, moderated by Kael Weston
- Guest Speaker: David Daley on Redistricting
- Polling Presentation: Rural Horizons Poll
According to the poll’s findings:
- 57 percent of rural voters think the Democratic Party is not considering their way of life, while 50 percent say the Republican Party is not considering their way of life.
- Of the politicians included in the poll, Donald Trump was the only well-liked national political figure.
- Biden is seeing “drop-off” from his 2020 vote total among rural voters, but his policies are more popular than his job approval. 47 percent of rural voters polled were in favor of the president’s Build Back Better plans for infrastructure and social programs.
- Immigration remains the issue that resonates most with rural voters ahead of COVID-19, jobs, and the economy.
- When it comes to health care, rising premium costs and physician access are rural voter top priorities.
- Rural voters have strong concerns about inflation, jobs, politicians, and family farms.
- 83 percent of respondents agreed that the costs of everyday items like food, clothes, and gas are increasing quickly.
- 82 percent believe trade schools and a skilled labor force can provide the foundation of a successful career to support a family.
- Concerns over politicians contributing to disinformation were dominant at 80 percent, with 78 percent believing that disinformation is threatening people’s well-being.
- 75 percent of rural voters think family farms are disappearing faster than ever.