By Patrick Woodie
Connect with Patrick @patrickwoodie
The Rural Center will hit the road in April for a series of six meetings across the state, as we unveil our first-ever comprehensive Rural Advocacy Agenda. We believe the timing couldn't be better for advancing the discussion of rural North Carolina's economic development future.
Right now, everyone is talking about rural North Carolina:
• “Can state bridge rural-urban divide?” is a recent column by Patrick Gannon, editor of the Insider State Government News Service in Raleigh, and he provides an excellent summation of a recent meeting of the Joint Economic Development and Global Engagement Committee chaired by state Sen. Harry Brown and Rep. Susan Martin. The column appeared in many papers across North Carolina.
Save the date!
|The meetings will held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Venue and registration info will be available the first week of March.|
• Tom Campbell of NC Spin wrote a recent column in favor of the Connect NC bond package and the water/sewer funding it would provide to rural systems. He quoted the North Carolina section of the American Society of Civil Engineers report that warns that replacement of aging infrastructure is the biggest issue for our state, saying, “the degradation of existing assets … is occurring to a point that is beyond a practical means to resolve them.”
• At a second meeting of the Joint Economic Development and Global Engagement Committee, members heard recommendations and discussion regarding the replacement of the 20 year old economic tier system with a better methodology for measuring the economic distress of counties. Legislators are exploring ways in which to better focus resources on the state’s most economically distressed counties.
• North Carolina’s business community is indicating a deep interest in the rural discussion. The N.C. Chamber Foundation has commissioned a rural economic development study that will result in a series of recommendations to the N.C. General Assembly for action in the short session set to begin on April 25th.
We welcome and we seek to engage all of these conversations.
At the Rural Center, we are making final preparations to add our contribution to these discussions through our release of a comprehensive Advocacy Agenda that focuses on what is needed to move rural North Carolina forward. It is the culmination of months of listening, asking questions of experts, and researching the issues. It reflects what we heard directly from you. It is directly relevant to all of the conversations cited above. It is offered in the best North Carolina tradition of partnership and collaboration: a determination to meet our rural future head-on, a commitment to saying that RURAL COUNTS and telling the rural story, and a deep belief that we are ONE state that must move forward together.
Please HOLD THE DATE, and make plans to join us at one of the following Advocacy Briefing Sessions. These sessions will include an optional workshop to help your rural community and region sharpen its advocacy skills.