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What You Won’t - But Should - Hear From Kim Reynold’s GOP Response To SOTU: Thank You Joe Biden

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

Tonight, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union. No doubt, we’ll hear a lot of attacks on President Biden from her. But what she won’t say, but should is: Thank You Joe Biden.

Kim Reynolds’ campaign has been running ads in Iowa media promoting her response tonight. Those ads are appearing with an article that begins, “ $100 million from the American Rescue Plan Act will go toward addressing Iowa’s housing shortage.”  

During Governor Reynolds’ Condition of the State speech on January 11, 2022, she cited investments in broadband and housing that were a result of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds leveraged by Iowa, despite her having previously referred to ARPA as a “Blue State Bailout.”

Yet, in Iowa, Kim Reynolds takes credit for projects funded by ARPA, which every single Republican in the U.S. House and Senate voted against, including Iowa’s Senators Grassley and Ernst, and Iowa’s Representatives Hinson, Miller-Meeks, and Feenstra. As Reynold’s own campaign acknowledges, Iowa has benefited greatly from ARPA. But Kim Reynolds won’t say that tonight. 

What Kim Reynolds also won’t acknowledge is that the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was one of the most significant investments in  rural communities we've seen in decades.  Like most Republicans, Reynolds would rather stick it to Joe Biden than support her rural constituents. In Iowa, we see this play out all the time. Republicans talk a good game about supporting rural residents but their priority is to deliver for the multinational corporations and monopolies that exploit rural communities.  

And, we can expect more of that tonight. 

Just don’t expect a well-deserved thank you to the elected officials who actually delivered billions of dollars to local communities through the American Rescue Plan.


“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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RuralOrganizing.Org Statement on President Biden’s Visit to Ohio

Rural Organizing Education Fund welcomes President Biden’s visit this week to Northeast Ohio, as he marks the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

Ohio’s need for investment in infrastructure is real and pressing, as reflected by the American Society of Civil Engineer’s designation that the state’s infrastructure is at a “C Minus” or “Mediocre, Requires Attention” level. The bipartisan package begins to address these issues by providing ten-billion dollars in highway funding for the state, in addition to more than thirty three billion in competitive grant funding for highway and multi-modal projects. These funds are crucial as Ohio’s roads and bridges carry the third highest freight load out of all 50 states. 

“For far too long, deficiencies in infrastructure have held back Ohio’s rural communities from reaching their full potential” said Brent Edwards, Rural Organizing’s Ohio Statewide Organizer. “We urge state and local leaders to put aside partisan differences and fully participate in this competitive grant making process so their constituents can benefit from the passage of this long awaited  infrastructure legislation. If done right, local investment will lead to local jobs, benefitting our communities.  Doing so can unlock this once in a generation source of funding, in order to build more equitable and resilient communities so all of Ohio’s residents can thrive.” 

“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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RuralOrganizing.Org Welcomes Ohio Supreme Court Ruling To Insure Voters’ Will is Reflected in Redistricting

The following is a statement from Brent Edwards, Ohio Organizer for RuralOrganizing.Org:

RuralOrganizing.org welcomes the two Ohio Supreme Court’s  rulings this week, which struck down the states unconstitutional State Legislative and Congressional district maps. A majority of justices in both cases declared that the Republican-led redistricting commission did not adhere to the mandates of proportionality, and lines were drawn to improperly favor a political party. 

Rural Organizing applauds the work of rural civic leaders and grassroots organizations whose tireless advocacy has led to this ruling being possible. Citizens from all corners of the state stood up and let their voices be heard, and today’s decision reflects this overwhelming desire for fair districts. 

With this ruling, the Ohio Legislature was given instructions to draw lines that comport with the mandates established in 2015’s Constitutional Amendment, which passed by an overwhelming margin of 71% to 29%. We urge the mapmakers to follow the law and will of Ohio voters as they put into place these state and federal districts for the next ten years.

“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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RuralOrganizing.Org to Democratic Senators: Change the Filibuster Rules to Save our Democracy

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

This week, Senate Democrats have the opportunity to save our democracy. They must not miss the chance.

RuralOrganizing.Org strongly encourages Democrats in the Senate to change the arcane Senate rules to allow for votes on The Freedom to Vote Act And The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

For the past year, Republicans in states across the nation have, by simple majorities, passed laws that undermine the right to vote. Republicans are not subtle about what they are doing. It’s voter suppression. They believe that their actions will be protected by the filibuster, the same Jim Crow relic that segregationists used to block voting rights back in the 50s and 60s. These Republicans know that the GOP Senate caucus will march in lockstep and are counting on a couple Democrats, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, to enable their obstruction.

That must not happen.

Majority Leader Schumer has promised votes this week to change the rules of the Senate to allow votes on both The Freedom to Vote Act And The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Every Democrat who cares about preserving the right to vote, a right so many fought and died for, must agree to changing the filibuster and vote for those bills.

Yesterday, President Biden presented the choice for Democratic Senators: “Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? The side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? The side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?"

In 1965, a bipartisan group of Senators overcame a segregationist filibuster to pass the original Voting Rights Act.  Unfortunately, bipartisanship on this issue is long gone. Senate Republicans have chosen voter suppression.  Senate Democrats must not let them prevail.

“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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RuralOrganizing.org Welcomes Governor Whitmer’s Creation of New Office of Rural Development

This week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of a new Office of Rural Development.  

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

We want to congratulate Governor Whitmer for creating  the new Office of Rural Development and want to thank all of those who made it possible, including State Representative Angela Witwer.

Governor Whitmer’s executive order said it best: “The creation of an Office of Rural Development will facilitate the state’s efforts to build a more prosperous rural economy and richer rural communities.” 

It’s gratifying to see this commitment to rural communities from Democratic leaders. Governor Evers in Wisconsin and Governor Kelly in Kansas have taken similar approaches by creating Offices of Rural Prosperity in their states.

We are also excited that Whitmer’s fellow Michigander, Senator Debbie Stabenow, championed the Rural Partnership Program in the Build Back Better legislation with the support of the Biden Administration. 

Ensuring and enhancing rural prosperity is good policy and good politics and it is the foundation of our ongoing “Campaign for Rural Progress.” We encourage all governors to create staff offices of rural prosperity like the new office in Michigan as we continue to advocate for a National Office of Rural Prosperity at the White House.

“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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FRAUD ALERT: Republicans Taking Credit for Biden Success Stories They Voted Against

Today, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a statement taking credit for an allocation to Iowa’s Water Infrastructure Fund, noting the money “will come through federal ARPA dollars.” ARPA is the American Rescue Plan, which passed in March of 2021 without a single Republican vote. In response, Matt Hildreth issued the following statement:

We’re calling fraud on Governor Kim Reynolds. She is claiming credit for something Joe Biden did. Every Republican in the U.S. House and Senate voted against the American Rescue Plan, including all five Republicans representing Iowa.

But, Reynolds gives away the game. She, like other Republicans around the country, know these funds are critically important for their states, especially their rural areas. Yet, if Republicans had their way, none of this would be happening.

Republicans talk a good game when it comes to rural issues, but they never deliver for their rural constituents. Instead, they prop up the corporations and billionaires who are undermining the rural way of life.

Democrats need to be clear to voters that they are delivering. They can’t be shy about it cause Republicans who had nothing to do with it are swooping in to take credit.

Whenever we see this, RuralOrganizing.Org will call Republicans on it. Voters should know President Biden, Cindy Axne, and the Democrats are the ones investing in their 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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RuralOrganizing.Org to Supreme Court: Don’t Endanger Lives of Women

Today, the United States Supreme Court held oral arguments in, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organziation,  a case brought by anti-abortion politicians to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

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

Today, the right-wing Justices on the the United States Supreme Court are showing their disdain for the rights, the health, and the safety of American women. Overturning Roe v. Wade  poses a serious danger to the lives of all American women, and is dangerous for women living in rural parts of the country, especially women of color.  Contrary to what some might believe, we know a majority of rural American voters support keeping abortion legal. And, we know that because we asked them.  Last summer, RuralOrganizing.org conducted a poll of 7,004 rural and exurban voters in eight states:  Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.  We asked “​​How Strongly do you agree with the following statement: Should Abortion be illegal? Overall,  50% of voters disagreed, 35% strongly. 

Public opinion matters. But, this is and always has been about controlling the lives and bodies of women. The agency of women and reproductive rights are not political pawns or talking points. That’s something we must all fight against at every level and on every front. And, at RuralOrganizing.Org, we are committed to that. 

The following is a statement from Aftyn Behn, Campaign Director for RuralOrganizing.Org:

Rural Americans already face enormous health challenges. Closing hospitals. COVID-19. Many states have already imposed laws that have closed  abortion providers or restricted access. And, if the conservatives on  the Supreme Court overturn Roe, access will be denied in many states. Rural women will have to drive further and further and pay more for reproductive health services. 

As a rural southern organizer, I have witnessed the rapid decline and closing of maternity wards, abortion clinics, and rural reproductive services preventing rural women from receiving the maternal and reproductive healthcare they deserve. The continued assault and overburdensome restrictions on abortion access is oppressive, racist and deadly. 

During today’s oral arguments, Justice Alito actually invoked “white supremacy” in a convoluted attempt to justify overturning precedent. He got it wrong, but, make no mistake, these oppressive efforts to control women’s bodies are rooted in white supremacy. Rural women have a right to control their bodies and exercise self-determination in their reproductive lives instead of having to navigate politics.

“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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RuralOrganizing.Org Statement on House Passage of Build Back Better Act

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

Today, Democrats in the United States House of Representatives passed President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which makes an historic investment in rural America 

The BBB Act will impact all aspects of life in rural America and Rural Organizing.Org strongly supports the legislation. One key provision, the Rural Partnership Program, ensures local rural experts have the tools they need to improve rural wages and bring good paying jobs back to rural America. This is truly a landmark program and will help guarantee that other investments are made wisely with local input.›

We applaud House Democrats for taking this step today and encourage every Democrat in the United States Senate, particularly those with many rural constituents, to support the legislation and insure its final passage.

Passing the Build Back Better Act sends a strong signal to all Americans, but particularly to rural Americans, that the Democrats understand their needs, concerns, and challenges - and that they are on our side.

We would especially like to thank the progressive grassroots activists who pushed the Democratic members to embrace bold solutions to the largest challenges of our time and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Rep.  Pramila Jayapal, who ensured this bill crossed the finish line in the House.

“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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RuralOrganizing.org Statement on Recent Labor Strikes

The following is a statement from Matt Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.Org in response to the recent labor strikes in Iowa and across the country:

Labor unions built America’s small towns and rural communities and now they are once again on the front lines of rebuilding rural prosperity from the bottom up. The path to prosperity in rural America requires strong unions and unwavering support for workplace democracy. We stand in solidarity with all those striking for higher wages and better benefits and we urge Congress and President Biden to pass the PRO Act and the entire Build Back Better agenda to create more good-paying jobs across the United States.

Rural organizing has always been about lifting up working families in rural places which requires workplace democracy everywhere. That’s why we stand in solidarity with all striking manufacturing, healthcare, education, entertainment, and food workers across the United States.

The decline of the middle class is directly tied to the decline in union membership. Despite the slash-and-burn tactics against collective bargaining rights by Republicans across the country in the last decade

CEOs earned 351 times more than the typical worker in 2020, even amidst a global pandemic, while worker pay and benefits have largely remained stagnant since the 1970s, this wave of strikes by U.S. workers comes as no surprise. 

Overworked, underpaid, and undervalued workers are the foundation of our economy. The massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to those at the top is an unconscionable abuse of working people by large, multinational corporations. It doesn’t matter if you’re white or black, gay or straight, tenth generation or a recent immigrant,  our only hope for improving wages and benefits for working people is for us to join together and demanding better treatment from those at the top.

As we  support those on the picket lines we will continue to demand bold action from Congress and the White House and ensure voters know which elected officials truly have their backs.

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“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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RuralOrganizing.org statement on Budget Reconciliation Negotiations

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

We are reaching crunch time on the Build Back Better reconciliation bill and  we need to make something very clear: This legislation could be a much needed boon for rural America.

The Build Back Better agenda addresses real concerns - the things rural families worry about every single day: child care, prescription drug prices, eye care and dental care for Seniors and programs that prioritize small, local businesses and keep rural schools, grocery stores, pharmacies, and clinics from closing. Those are real life issues.  These are the things rural voters worry about and talk about every day.


Rural voters are not talking about the legislative process or parliamentarians or even the stepped-up basis. They want Congress to get things done to increase good paying jobs and wages in rural communities, decrease the daily expenses of rural Americans, and improve the quality of life in small town America.

We know billionaires and multinational corporations  with their armies of corporate lobbyists are working hard to make this budget work for them - not the rest of us.  Any Democrat who is working to undermine reconciliation is choosing corporate America’s lobbyists and billionaires over their rural constituents.  

For the last several decades, we’ve all seen how corporate lobbyists have rewritten our laws to ensure that the big get bigger and richer and the small get screwed. That’s especially true in rural parts of the country where the corporate agenda is  killing competition in the market and jacking up our prices making it harder and harder for families today to get ahead. Meanwhile, they hide behind rural voters to thwart tax reform like the stepped-up basis, which Secretary Vilsack correctly noted “has allowed the wealthy to amass large fortunes.” 

I’m often asked why rural voters vote against their own interests. I think, in part, it’s because  too many Democrats who have large rural constituencies, like Senators Manchin and Sinema, align themselves with corporate lobbyists and billionaires instead of the people they were elected to serve. We will see what Democrats do: stand with rural people or stand with their corporate donors. 

“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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