Last week I attended a meeting with people from fourteen states from Maryland to Texas.We discussed and planned a better course for those rural communities. Each state has experienced growth in the metropolitan parts of the state, while the rural sections have not kept pace. This trend must be reversed. Below is the media release.
Rural leaders meet to map out future regional policies
Confronted by continuing economic challenges exasperated by the current economy and continuing changing industrial and agriculture markets, rural leaders from the Southern United States came together to plan for the regions future.
A fourteen State convening of over one hundred local, regional, state, and federal representatives of the rural South met May 11 and 12, 2010, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sponsored by Partners for Rural America, a national association of State Rural Development Council's and Rural Centers. This was one of four regional gatherings across the United States. The focus was to determine if the challenges faced in rural America can better be addressed regional, looking beyond state borders. Public policies and programs that preserve and enhance the quality of rural living in each Southern State were identified.
The event was chaired by Glen Sink, Executive Director of the Center and Council for Rural Virginia. State Senator Frank Ruff (Mecklenburg), Chairman of the Center for Rural Virginia, welcomed participants on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Governor, Bob McDonnell.
According to Ruff, the purpose of the event was to strengthen the relationship between those from the various states working in the realm improving the economy and the opportunities in the rural regions. This includes those that are in the public sector as well as those involved with non-profit organizations, and private entities that serve the people of the Southern region of the United States.
Presentations focused on comparing changes that have occurred over the last decade in the rural regions of the South in comparison to the more urban centers. Those presentations compared both economic and demographic changes.
Participants began developing innovative policy changes that could be implemented to enhance the rural economy and its workforce. Among the issues discussed was how better to be involved in alternative energy development and how to better use broadband accessibility for those who choose to live and work in rural sectors of the America.
Ruff, Sink, and past Rural Virginia Council Chairman Oliver McBride agreed with Weldon Cooper's Randy Arno when he said "Each state needs one organization for the rural areas of that State to turn to as as a one stop resource to provide the most up to date information regarding best practices available to better serve their communities. This organization would work on behalf of rural areas to collect and distribute examples of innovative programs that improve rural opportunity, gather workforce data and improve coordination, deploy broadband for business and home use, and develop sustainable energy alternatives. Hopefully, the needs of each unique rural place will influence the design and the delivery of local, state, and federal programs."
Glen is the Executive Director of both the Federally sanctioned Council for Rural Va and the Center for Rural Virginia a public-private partnership between the private sector and state government chaired by State Senator Frank Ruff (Mecklenburg)
Any time that you have a question or comment you can reach my office at 434-374-5129 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, Va 23927
15th Senate District