Those of us who get up every morning thinking about how to best improve rural North Carolina are gratified by the ongoing discussions in the legislature and in newspapers on how to address North Carolina's uneven economic recovery.
Perhaps no statistic is more telling than this one: 82 percent of the increase in the number of employed North Carolinians between October 2010 and October 2014 — a total of 197,606 people — took place in just 17 counties. None were rural.
Last year we heard from you, our Rural Partners, that rural North Carolina needs to begin speaking with a clearer and more united voice. You asked us to help coordinate an effort to do exactly that, and we took your charge to heart. This summer, we will be traveling to six North Carolina towns to gather your input as we craft a rural advocacy agenda to benefit the entire state. Register now to join us.
In February, our board adopted a five-step approach to developing a comprehensive, issues-based rural advocacy agenda. It focuses on:
- Identifying the issues
- Understanding the issues
- Formulating evidence-based policy
- Outreach to elected, corporate and philanthropic leadership
- Monitoring progress
In July and August, our staff and board will convene a series of regional advocacy roundtables that will kick off this process. We need your active participation.
We will bring to you the latest legislative news from Raleigh and Washington, D.C., and highlight other significant work being done around rural issues. We will also share the latest data on the trends impacting rural communities.
Make plans to join us and register now. We look forward to your participation as we launch this new process, which will culminate at the end of the year with a comprehensive agenda for rural North Carolina.