How States Can Support and Empower Rural People

For decades, federal policymakers have made decisions to disinvest in rural communities. Disinvestment has contributed to rural population decline, leading to further disinvestment, in a vicious cycle of depopulation.

States can help to fill in the gaps.

Many of the decisions that most directly impact the lives of rural people are made at the state level, from Medicaid expansion and hospital funding to factory farm siting and enforcement of clean water rules to broadband expansion. Today, these decisions often reflect priorities of big business and lobbying groups, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Rural communities from New York to Oregon share many common concerns, but the particulars are different from region to region. State legislators are well-positioned to learn just what their rural regions need and what assets they have, by listening to rural residents and local small businesses, building relationships with organizations and stakeholders – and, in many cases, through their own rural lived experience. This knowledge can turn into new policies, rules enforcement, services, and funding to have the greatest impact on their rural populations.

We’re connecting state legislators, advocates and community members to build and protect thriving, just, and vibrant rural communities.