To the Editor:
Elections are a little like New Year’s Day, an opportunity to dedicate ourselves to addressing the challenges our nation faces and reaching for opportunities on the horizon — regardless of whether the candidates we supported won or not. At the Center for Rural Affairs, we stress the importance of rural Americans lifting up their voices at crucial times. And, of course, elections are one of those times.
During this national election, however, serious mentions of rural issues were too few and too far between. As Congress and the president once again grapple with writing a new farm bill and debate other issues of vital importance to rural America, those of us who live and work here must recognize that our work is not done.
It is crucial that rural Americans ask tough questions of our elected leaders. Will Congress write a new farm bill that works for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities? Will they invest in conservation, rural development and the next generation of family farmers and ranchers? Will efforts to create jobs and spur economic growth include proven strategies to revitalize rural communities?
We cannot expect elected officials to fulfill their promises unless we are willing to ensure that they do. Rural Americans played an important role in the 2012 election. But the lack of attention to rural issues therein demonstrates that rural Americans must remind our elected officials, as many times as possible, that America’s small towns and rural areas matter.
Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Neb.
To the Editor: