In late April 2023, Rural Democracy Initiative met with over fifty rural advocates in Omaha, Nebraska to identify key federal and state policies designed to support rural people and the places they live. It was incredibly invigorating to spend time with these remarkable leaders from around the country.
The saying goes, “As Texas goes, so goes the nation.” The state has been a testing ground for extreme bills attacking voting rights, reproductive justice, and immigration. We also see another dynamic: As rural goes, so goes the state. Rural communities can take bold action to improve people’s lives, and that policy can transform the state.
RDI grantees, partners, and donors participated in a lively and fast-paced discussion on the 2023 Farm Bill. This important legislation is passed every five years, making its impact long-ranging and critical to bring resources to our rural communities. Our dynamic panelists shared how the Farm Bill impacts all of us, and avenues for action to ensure this year’s Farm Bill supports healthy food, a clean environment, and all rural people.
There are no off years for Rural Democracy Initiative (RDI). Joined by our funders and supporters, RDI hosted a Kickoff Webinar to start the year. We welcomed two guest speakers from our grantee network, Davis Hammet from Loud Light and Valerie Rawls from EcoWomanist, as well as new RDI programs Rural Youth Voter Fund and Resource Rural. In an inspiring and lively conversation, we shared recent successes and highlighted our priorities for the year.
In less than a month, voters in Wisconsin will elect the next Supreme Court Justice, which will be critical to protecting the integrity and fairness of voting, reproductive freedoms, and representative maps, among other issues impacting Wisconsin communities. The Democracy Strategy Group, cohosted by Rural Democracy Initiative (RDI) and the Democracy Alliance, organized a webinar to mobilize support.
Rural voters are swing voters, and these swings decide elections. We’re sharing a new tool to view and analyze these voting patterns.
The RDI Election Results Dashboard provides easy access to county-level data. The Dashboard shows trends across county types, including large and small metro, suburban, and rural. In addition, you can compare 2022 election results to past elections. There are numerous ways to filter the data and visualize it on an interactive map.
This year, our network of over 100 groups and leaders engaged hundreds of thousands of people in rural areas, small towns, and small cities. We changed electoral outcomes and built political power that will endure past the election. The 2022 Midterm Election had many hopeful and bright spots, along with surprises, many incredible learning opportunities, and of course some tough disappointments.