Here at RuralOrganizing.org, we’ve asked hundreds of rural people over the years what they love most about living in small towns and rural communities. Most often, one answer rises to the top. “We look out for each other.”
Our polling in 2018 showed that 89% of rural Americans agree with the statement that “In small towns and rural communities we believe in looking out for each other, whether we're white, black or brown, tenth generation or newcomer.” And while small town life doesn’t always live up to this value, we believe this is an aspiration we should all strive for.
Community-based values like this are especially important in today’s political climate where politicians have taken appeals to fear, xenophobia, homophobia, and islamophobia to a new low. This document examines strategies for leveraging our values as small town and rural Americans in order to create communities that are even more empowered, thriving and equitable.
That's why we've created our first "Conversation Guide" to help rural leaders move passed our current politics of division and create better civic dialogue among elected officials and their constituents in small towns and rural communities.
Inside our guide, you’ll find a set of key messages aimed at rural voters based on our internal polling and external, publicly available resources. We know rural voters are looking to elect leaders who will fight for the “small town and rural way of life” and our hope is that this guide will help keep the civic debate focused on improving the lives of rural people.
However, we also provide advice for authentic conversations about two issues often used by politicians to divide rural voters for political purposes. If you have questions about this document, please email us at email@example.com.