Welcome to the Center for Rural Policy & Development’s new blog! Our goal with our newest tool of communication is to provide more insight into issues facing Greater Minnesota. Blog posts in the future will focus on a variety of topics, ranging from the importance of newspapers in rural communities to the role of women in agriculture to overcoming the child care shortage and many other captivating topics. We will be publishing weekly, so make sure to check back often to learn about our topics of interest.
And now a little about me. I started as the newest president of the Center back in October 2018. When I moved back to rural Minnesota after 14 years of living in densely populated metropolitan areas across America, I realized that it was time to get back to my roots. Honestly, I didn’t expect to continue living in rural Minnesota much after a year or two of coming back, but I can honestly say that rural Minnesota has more to offer than ever before. The arts are flourishing, jobs are plentiful, and a sense of community is a given. And let’s be honest, the traffic is much better in out here.
Are there difficult issues facing Greater Minnesota? Yes, but we also have solutions that come from involved, hard-working citizens who care about their community and way of life. They want to see their rural communities not just survive but thrive.
In rural Minnesota there aren’t as many people to rely on to take care of basic needs like town infrastructure, so residents have to take it upon themselves to be civically active. A perfect example of this civic-mindedness is in my local community of 200 residents where the water and sewer systems were eroding to the point of being hazardous. The residents took it upon themselves to meet with lawmakers and the USDA to find solutions to the problem for their small town.
Fortunately, new sewer and water systems will start being installed during the summer of 2019. Could dollars going towards our small-town sewer system be used somewhere else in the state? Surely, but rural Minnesotans should not be excluded from a quality of life that is seen in more populated parts of the state. We all value strong education, strong infrastructure, strong healthcare and the list goes on. Yes, there are fewer people living in Greater Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less important than other citizens.
Moving back to rural Minnesota, I now realize that it is my time to give back. For my entire life I expected the elders in our community to pay attention to the infrastructure and basics of living a good life in a small town. Now that I am part of the generation who is taking care of their parents while taking care of their children, it is my turn to pay attention and uphold this quality of life. If we want this rural way of life to last for the coming generations, it is going to take involvement from ordinary citizens who love their community to help tell the story of rural Minnesota.
I’m proud to be part of rural Minnesota and I look forward to sharing our stories.
President & CEO