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New Poll Of Rural Americans: President Trump Did Not Adequately Prepare For Coronavirus Pandemic

Columbus, OH—New nationwide polling  suggests that rural Americans don’t think President Donald Trump adequately prepared for the coronavirus outbreak. The poll, commissioned by RuralOrganizing.org, was conducted by Change Research on March 26-29th.

While approval of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak largely falls on partisan lines, the poll of registered voters also documents widespread concerns regarding Trump’s pandemic response that transcends partisan politics and geography.

TOPLINES | CROSS TABS

Among the findings: 

  • Approval of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak largely falls on partisan lines, but concern regarding pandemic transcends partisan politics and geography

  • 76% of non-metro and 80% small-metro respondents said the coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on their daily life

  • 90% of non-metro respondents reported seeing low inventory at stores and online, 65% reported being impacted by school closures, and 41% reported a decrease in the value of their investments

  • A majority of non-metro respondents (52%) don’t believe Donald Trump has adequately prepared for the coronavirus outbreak but they are split (45% distrust v 47% trust) on the reliability of the information coming from the President regarding pandemic

  • 44% of non-metro respondents believe that the federal government has not gone far enough to slow the spread of the outbreak and only 8% believe the federal government has gone too far; in comparison, a majority (59%) of non-metro voters believe local and state governments have taken appropriate measures

  • A clear majority of non-metro respondents (63%) trust the information coming from their state and local governments about the coronavirus

  • A majority of non-metro respondents (54%) don’t believe their local and state leaders are adequately prepared for the coronavirus outbreak

  • 55% of non-metro respondents believe their hospitals and clinics are not adequately prepared for the coronavirus outbreak 

  • Non-Metro voters are split on Trump’s impact on their communities. 44% of non-metro voters agree and 49% disagree with the statement that, “Trump is hurting farmers and rural communities.”

  • Overall, about half of non-metro respondents (48%) disapprove of the job President Trump is doing on healthcare

  • 30% of non-metro respondents reported losing income due to decrease in work hours or less business

  • A quarter of non-metro respondents 24% have already lost their job to coronavirus or fear that they will lose their jobs.

The following is a quote from Matthew Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org:

“Our poll found rural voters are concerned about coronavirus - and should be. Over the past few days in rural counties, we’ve seen the deaths from coronavirus increase dramatically.  The rural hospital closure crisis, especially in states that refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, has left small towns and rural communities uniquely vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. Our poll shows the vast majority of rural voters are being impacted by coronavirus and are not confident that their leaders and health care system are ready for it. The past years of neglect mean small town clinics and hospitals will need support now like never before.  ”

Methodology 

1,213 interviews were collected between March 26–29 nationwide. Change Research used its Dynamic Online Sampling to achieve a sample reflective of registered voters. The margin of error as traditionally calculated at a 95% confidence level is 2.8%, and post-stratification was performed on age, gender, race/ethnicity, geography, and vote history.

 The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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Rural America Needs Bold, Decisive Leadership During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Columbus, OH—In light of the humanitarian and economic crisis sparked by COVID-19, rural America needs bold and immediate action now!

The following is a statement by Matthew Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org:

As Congress continues to work on the federal stimulus and emergency investment legislation, we have a message from Rural America: Invest in people, not corporations. 

Many Republican Senators have large rural constituencies that are suffering. Those Senators need to put their constituents ahead of their donors.  In small towns and rural communities, we immediately need policies that protect frontline workers, expand health care access to testing and treatment, and provide monthly payments to individuals and families.

But while  another historic crisis is unfolding, rural America is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, which hit rural communities harder, earlier, and longer than urban areas. Most rural communities still lag behind in employment, child poverty, and life expectancy.  

This is the time to establish a strong economic foundation for rural communities to thrive for generations. Remember, after the Great Depression, it was progressive policies that saved rural America. It’s time to make that same investment. 

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

 

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Trump’s Education Cuts Are Cruel and  Inept

Columbus, OH—RuralOrganizing.org is demanding that President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos immediately reverse their decision to alter eligibility requirements for the Rural and Low-Income School Program in light of new reporting from the New York Times that the change will cut thousands of dollars in aid to some of the poorest, most isolated schools in the country.

The following is a statement from Matthew  Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org.

The Trump administration is pursuing another policy that hurts rural communities. This time, their target is rural kids who deserve equal access to education, whether it's K-12 or college.  This bureaucratic bookkeeping decision is heartless and inept. President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos must immediately reverse their decision to alter eligibility requirements for RLIS and refocus on helping small rural schools.

Congress created the Rural Education Achievement Program in 2002. It's the only dedicated federal funding stream for rural school districts. As the New York Times notes “Rural school districts, which serve nearly one in seven public-school students, have long been considered the most underfunded and ignored in the country.” These districts rely on the funding that’s being cut to supplement the costs of services that are far less accessible to rural students, like technology, mental health and guidance counselors, and full-day kindergarten.

RuralOrganizing.org is circulating an online petition urging the Trump administration to immediately reverse course on their decision to alter eligibility requirements for the Rural and Low-Income School Program. You can view the petition here.

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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The Proposed 2021 Budget is Full of Bad Ideas and Broken Promises for Rural America

Columbus, OH— President Donald Trump released a $4.8 trillion federal budget today for the 2021 Fiscal Year proposing steep cuts to programs that are critical to small towns and rural communities across the country.

The failing of the Trump administration’s budget is rooted in their preference for big corporations over locally owned small farms. Recently, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Wisconsin dairy farmers that, “In America the big get bigger and the small go out.” The administration’s  preference for big agricultural over small farms is reflected through the budget priorities. 

The Trump administration’s idea  that the big should “get bigger and the small go out” also applies to small businesses. The administration proposed budget considers the USDA Rural Business Service Programs, that provides funding opportunities for rural small businesses through loans, loan guarantees, and grants, to  be an unnecessary and wasteful program. 

Our polling shows that rural people support federal government programs aimed at improving people’s lives, but Trump is proposing  an  8 percent cut in funding to USDA, the Education Department, and the Energy Department. These agencies provide critical programs that support the rural way of life. 

The following is a statement from Matthew  Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org.

President Trump’s budget proposal is full of bad ideas and broken promises for rural America. He favors big corporations at the expense of the small farms and the small businesses that are the bedrock of rural economies. Rural America needs more small farms and small businesses—not less. They are the foundation of rural economies.

And when it comes to funding for infrastructure,  we’re tired of broken promises. This administration’s commitment to investing in infrastructure has become a bad running joke.

Find our full overview of how the Trump administration’s proposed budget will impact small towns and rural communities here.

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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Trump’s SNAP Changes Will Hit Rural Residents Harder Than The Rest Of The Nation, Experts Say

Columbus, OH— Advocates for small towns and rural communities are demanding that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue stop the implementation of the recently announced changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) canceling work-requirement waivers for hundreds of thousands of participants.

Feeding America states that, "SNAP provides families with their basic nutritional needs to get them through temporary hard times. It helps people get back on their feet and on the road to a better life.”

According to Lisa Pruitt, a scholar at the University of California-Davis, “Work requirements are disproportionately harmful in rural communities because of a dearth of public transportation, lack of access to child care where needed and very few available jobs.” 

In less than a week since the changes were announced, over 76,000 people have signed a petition circulated by RuralOrganizing.org stating that, “USDA's newly-proposed rules to SNAP will cut food stamp benefits for hundreds of thousands of hungry people. We demand that you stop these proposed changes before they take effect on April 1, 2020.”

The following is a statement from  Liz Shaw,  President of Indivisible Appalachian Ohio.

Hunger is a serious issue in Appalachian Ohio, and food pantries often struggle to keep up with the demand. The organization I lead, Indivisible Appalachian Ohio, has spent thousands of dollars this year sponsoring the food bank's emergency mobile food pantry. We are on the front line hearing desperate stories of catastrophic illness, death of the family's breadwinner, housing displaced relatives, and job layoffs. This ill-advised policy will greatly increase the human suffering already in our region. 

The following is a statement from Matthew  Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org.

Instead of kicking job seekers off of SNAP, President Trump should focus on keeping his promise of bringing jobs to small towns and rural communities. 

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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ICYMI: Che Apalache, The Popular Bluegrass Group, Puts Spotlight On Diversity In Rural America

Winston-Salem, NC—Che Apalache, a four-man string band based in Buenos Aires, Argentina with members from Argentina, Mexico and the United States was featured on Telemundo this weekend.

Read the full article here

Che Apalache is a “latingrasss” group featuring three powerhouse Latin American musicians. Franco Martino on guitar and Martin Bobrik on mandolin are from Argentina. Banjoist, Pau Barjau, is from Mexico. The group ’s leader, Joe Troop, is from the North Carolina Piedmont region, in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Their latest album, “Rearrange My Heart,” was released this summer and was produced by famed banjo player and cross-genre trailblazer Béla Fleck.

Che Apalache’s new music video “The Dreamer” features the story of Moisés Serrano, an openly undocumented and queer activist and storyteller who wrote the script for the music video which was released this month. Moisés’ advocacy has also been filmed in the feature length documentary, Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America. The five-time award winning film was recently honored by the Television Academy. 

The following is a statement from Matt Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org.

Che Apalache represents the true diversity of small towns and rural communities across the county. Since coming out as undocumented in 2010, Moisés’ has relentlessly pursued equality for his community through the sharing of his narrative.  His home, and the home for his family, is here. DACA has been a critical program for many small towns and rural communities. According to a report by the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee, 61% of rural recipients got jobs with health insurance or other benefits after being approved for DACA. 

 

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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Rural Organizing Proves Essential to Democrat Andy Beshear’s Victory in the Kentucky Governor’s Race

Columbus, OH—One year out from the 2020 election — as political pundits highlight the critical role small town and rural voters will play in President Donald Trump’s re-election strategy — Democrat Andy Beshear’s come-from-behind win in the Kentucky Governor’s race proves that smart, inclusive rural organizing must be included in every statewide red state campaign. Ahead of election night, RuralOrganizing.org worked through an independent expenditure to turn out progressive rural voters  in all corners of the state — in 45 precincts and 41 counties — including PikeBullitt, and Knott.

According to Matthew Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org,

Andy Beshear's victory in the Kentucky Governor's race is a huge win for rural progressives in the state and for anyone who cares about rebuilding small towns and rural communities. Our Kentucky team mobilized and worked tirelessly to make sure progressives turned out to vote in small towns and rural communities across the state. During the last month alone, we made over 8,455 phone calls and placed 1,200 yard signs.

We know rural engagement works and cutting Democratic margins in Rural Kentucky was a critical part of Andy Beshear's success. But for us, the Kentucky Governor’s race was just the start. We are taking the lessons we learned in Kentucky and using them to mobilize thousands of rural progressives in critical battleground states across the country. We’re still one year out from the 2020 election and  network of over 150,000 advocates for rural America are fired up and ready to go. Andy Beshear’s victory proves that smart, inclusive rural organizing must be included in every red state campaign. 

Next Monday, RuralOrganizing.org is launching its 2020 nationwide campaign in Iowa. More information can be found here.

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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Bluegrass Band Releases Inspiring Music Video Highlighting Undocumented Immigrants In North Carolina

Columbus, OH—Che Apalache, a bluegrass band featuring three powerhouse Latin American musicians and North Carolina native, Joe Troop, recently released a music video for their latest  single “The Dreamer” which appears on their new album, “Rearrange My Heart,” produced by famed banjo player and cross-genre trailblazer Béla Fleck.

The music video features the story of Moisés Serrano, an openly undocumented and queer DACA recipient and community leader from North Carolina. Since coming out as undocumented in 2010, Serrano has relentlessly pursued equality for his community through the sharing of his story. Moisés’ advocacy has been filmed in the feature length documentary, Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America and he also co-wrote the script for “The Dreamer” music video.

The following is a statement by Matt Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org.

Che Apalache is bluegrass band that looks more like the true rural America than the simple cliches too often portrayed in the media. Our small towns and rural communities are so lucky to have leaders like Moisés who are fighting everyday for their hometowns. “The Dreamer” represents the stories of so many rural people today. A third of new rural residents in the United States today were born in another country.

Che Apalache will perform at the RuralOrganizing.org launch party on November 11, 2019 in Sioux Center, Iowa. More information about the launch party can be found here.

For more information about the queer Latinx community in rural communities, see this  new report recently released by the Movement Advancement Project.

 The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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Matthew Hildreth Named Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org

Columbus, OH— RuralOrganizing.org announced today that Matthew Hildreth has been named executive director of the organization dedicated to rebuilding a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Hildreth previously served as the board chair of the organization.

RuralOrganazing.org is hosting a Launch Party on November 11, 2019 in Sioux Center, Iowa featuring a concert with Che Apalache and The Ruralists. The public is invited to the event.

According to Nick Levendofsky, Board Chair of RuralOrganizing.org

"I am pleased to welcome Matt as RuralOrganizing.org's first Executive Director. Since the beginning of RuralOrganizingl.org , Matt has been instrumental in highlighting and advocating for rural citizens and issues from across America, and we look forward to continuing that good work with him in the future."

According to Matthew Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org:

I’m really honored to step into this new role with RuralOrganizing.org. Last year when we launched our organization, I never would have imagined we’d accomplish so much in such a short amount of time. Our network has grown to over 150,000 advocates and nearly 1,000 civic leaders working locally and nationally to enact progressive policy reforms to rebuild rural America. Now it’s time to take our work to the next level and move from a volunteer-based team to fully staffed organization. As we enter the new phase of our work, we will remain committed to pursuing creativity, equity, and justice at all organizational levels and throughout all our programs. 

Hildreth  grew up on a small farm in eastern South Dakota and is a graduate of Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota where he studied Philosophy and Communications. He earned a Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication from the University of Iowa and holds an Executive Education Certificate from Harvard University’s Leadership, Organizing and Action program.

For nearly a decade, Hildreth’s work focused on leveraging digital technologies to motivate key constituencies toward greater civic engagement on issues relating to migration and social cohesion. He served as the Digital Director, Political Director, and Director of New Initiatives at America’s Voice where he led a team dedicated to fighting white nationalism and white supremacy online, offline, and in politics.

Prior to his time at America’s Voice, Hildreth spent three years as the Interactive Media Producer for Sojourners — the largest network of progressive Christians in America — where he successfully developed innovative techniques for engaging online constituents.

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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Progressives Need To Make Gains In Rural Communities. Our New Poll Shows How They Can.

Rural Americans want rural-specific solutions to rural-specific problems and the policies that they support come straight out of the Progressive platform. Progressives should lean into them.

Columbus, OH—New national polling released this week commissioned by RuralOrganizing.org shows that rural support for Donald Trump is down since the 2016 election, yet Democrats still aren’t picking up rural voter support. 

According to the 2018 National Rural Survey, over 50 percent (52%) of rural respondents approve of Donald Trump’s job performance, and when  it comes to generic House candidates, Republicans hold a ten point margin over Democrats (43-33). Polling also shows that 1 in 5 rural residents are still undecided on the 2018 House race.

However, results also challenge much of the conventional wisdom about small towns and rural communities: Rural voters lean to the Left when it comes to healthcare, education, the economy, income inequality, and corporate money in politics. 

  • A strong majority (77%) of rural residents think Congress is giving tax breaks to the wealthy instead of investing in rural areas

  • Over 75% agree that politicians blame new immigrants or people of color to divide and distract us from the real source of our problems, instead of delivering for working people

  • Two thirds (67%) support offering free tuition to local community colleges and trade schools

  • A similar number (64%) want Medicare to cover all Americans

  • Over half (54%) support increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour

  •  Only 38 percent support outlawing abortions

View the results here.

The following is a statement from Matt Hildreth, Board Chair of RuralOrganizing.org.

Nearly all participants in our survey (94%) said the rural and small-town way of life is worth fighting for, and the solutions they support for rebuilding rural communities come straight from the Progressive platform. However, our numbers show that the majority of rural Americans still feel that Democrats aren’t fighting for them.

Small town folks know well that the system is rigged for the powerful and wealthy.  Progressives should embrace a populist, pro-democratic, message that celebrates rural life, rejects big money in politics, calls out race-based strategies of division, expands access to programs like Medicare, and favors small businesses over major corporations.

Over 90 percent of rural Americans think we should invest in small, local businesses and protect rural schools from closing. Over 85 percent  think we should protect hunting and fishing habitats through smart land management policies, and pass policies that support rural grocery stores, pharmacies, and clinics. Three out of four rural residents want individuals with drug addictions sent to rehabilitation centers instead of prisons. Two thirds (67%) support offering free tuition to local community colleges and trade schools and a similar number (64%) want Medicare to cover all Americans.

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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