Ep112: New Rural Messaging Ideas, Sanders College Tour

Pat Rynard sits down to discuss this week’s Iowa Caucus happenings, and Josh Cook joins to talk about Congressman Ro Khanna’s help with a new tech jobs in Jefferson, Iowa, and how it could provide a new rural America messaging and policy approach for Democrats.

Biden On Trump In Iowa: “Easy To Be A Bully” When Others Getting Hit

Around 75 people showed up at Sunset Ridge Farm this afternoon to hear Vice President Joe Biden speak earlier today. Biden framed the 2020 race as “the most important election any of you have ever voted in, regardless of how old, or young, you are.” Biden hit many of his frequent talking points, including the divisiveness of Donald Trump and his rhetoric, increasing racial tension under Trump’s leadership, the energized resurgence of white supremacy, the cost and importance of education, teacher pay and gun violence. “We can overcome four years of Donald Trump, it will be difficult, but if we […]

Iowans Urge Congress to Fund Rural Hospitals and Health Centers

As critical-access hospitals around the state continue to have their existence threatened, Iowa organizations are stepping up and fighting back to protect health care in rural areas. After proposed federal funding cuts to programs that support health care services for Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured patients, ten Iowa organizations have teamed up on a letter to Congress to pressure them into supporting the CHIME Act. The letter states that the programs being cut provide vital support to 11 Iowa hospitals, and that the cuts are unsustainable for these hospitals, especially in rural areas, and “could force some of them to reduce […]

Iowa Dems Knock Trump EPA’s “Bait-And-Switch” On Iowa Farmers

Focus on Rural America hosted a press conference Thursday to call out President Donald Trump for the promises he made to farmers and the biofuel industry during his first campaign, but has failed to live up to. “We have a bait-and-switch. They said we’re gonna give you year-round E15 sales, but we’re gonna grant enough waivers to the oil industry that it does not result in any additional market share,” Patty Judge said. Focus on Rural America chair and former Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge spoke at the press conference, along with former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, IDP […]

Poll Shows Rural Voters Back More Centrist Approach, Biofuel Support

Rural Democrats are looking to support a presidential candidate who will focus on their communities and invigorate the renewable fuel industries, a poll from David Binder Research showed earlier this week. Of the 600 people surveyed in the poll, 53% report living in rural areas and small towns, and 76% self-identified as middle-class or lower in socioeconomic standing. The recent poll, which shows Elizabeth Warren leading amongst the sample, reflected the older, whiter electorate, even among Iowa Democrats: 95% of respondents identified as white and 85% of them being over the age of 35. Amongst the group, 62% said they […]

Without Rural Improvement, Dems Will Never Retake U.S. Senate

As everyone digests the first round of Democratic debates and discusses the bold policy agendas of the candidates, it can be easy to over-nationalize politics. But winning the presidency is just a step, and certainly doesn’t guarantee that any of those policies will successfully be implemented. Legislation runs through the Senate, where if Mitch McConnell remains the majority leader, Democratic proposals will go to die. And connecting with rural voters to regain control of the U.S. Senate is getting overlooked by many Democrats, says Jeff Link of Link Strategies. “Until we figure this out, we will never have a majority […]

USDA Grants Boost Small Iowa Towns, But Funding Now At Risk

As small towns across the country struggle to attract or retain businesses, the USDA has been awarding a number of rural development grants to help stimulate growth. “I just feel like there’s been a reinvigorated interest in rural issues and communities, and seeing that manifest itself in different ways has been really encouraging,” said Grant Menke, the Iowa State Director of USDA Rural Development. “Iowa is pretty much the best in the nation at the rural economic development program.” Decorah, Iowa, took advantage of one over a decade ago that helped develop their now-lively commerce and arts scene in town. […]