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The NC Rural Center is in the business of working with our state’s rural citizens to help their local communities flourish. Some issues, though, extend beyond the local level. Some challenges that face our state are big enough and complex enough that they will take us all working together to solve.

That is where our advocacy program comes in. The Rural Center is committed to working with rural champions from all over the state to make significant statewide progress toward our 10 Rural Counts strategies for rural economic development. At the NC Rural Center, we believe if we dream big, plan smart, and work together with a focus on these strategies, we will see our communities thrive.

The issues are big, but the key to solving them hinges on one thing: you.

We hope you will take some time to learn more about all 10 strategies and how they impact rural communities. Explore our Advocacy in Action feed on this page to see what we are doing right now to tackle them at the state and federal levels. Use the Advocacy Toolkit to get the basics about how to engage with your elected officials, view webinars and other training materials, and dig deep into our theory of change. Most importantly, plan how you can take your own action to improve rural communities in our state.

Want even more up-to-the-minute info? Follow us on Twitter at @RuralCounts.


2021 Advocacy Issues


Meet the Team

Brandy Bynum DawsonSenior Director of Policy & Advocacy, [email protected]
Brandy leads the advocacy team in working with a broad range of stakeholders to design and implement innovative approaches for engaging statewide advocates in the Rural Counts program. She helps to facilitate deliberative dialogue on behalf of the Rural Center in local, regional, statewide, and federal policy development roundtables, trainings, and other advocacy events.
Marley Braun, Administrative Coordinator,
Marley supports overall planning and logistics for the Rural Counts program and team, with a special focus on the organization and coordination of essential program areas. 
Miles Kirksey, Advocacy Engagement Coordinator, [email protected]
Miles works to support and develop the Rural Counts advocacy network through recruitment and direct engagement opportunities. He guides Rural Counts community mobilization and capacity building efforts with individual and organizational partners to expand the program’s reach and impact across rural North Carolina.
Torie Keeton, Policy and Government Affairs Manager, 
Torie works with a diverse network of state and federal policymakers, local leaders, and rural champions to research, develop, and advocate for innovative nonpartisan policy solutions to rural North Carolina’s biggest economic development challenges.



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