As policy manager with the Center for Rural Affairs, advocating on behalf of rural families hits close to home for Jordan Rasmussen.
“To many people, policy work may seem wonky and distanced from humanity, but for me, policy is personal,” said Jordan. “Behind each policy area that I work on is a family member, a friend, a rural Nebraskan whose quality of life is impacted by the legislation we advocate for.”
In her role, Jordan focuses on Nebraska state policy in the areas of tax, budget, and health care, meaning she keeps her ear (and boots) to the ground in both rural communities and at the Capitol as she advocates for policies that respect and respond to the needs of rural Nebraskans.
“I have the honor of serving as the lead for our Nebraska state policy efforts,” she said. “My most important duty, and the work I take the most pride in, is being able to help share the stories of rural Nebraskans and how policy impacts their everyday lives.”
Jordan’s work also expands into social and economic opportunity, including working with beginning farmers, K-12 education, or food policy efforts.
“At the end of the day, what I am advocating for is increased opportunity for rural and underserved Nebraskans—and inviting folks to make their voices heard in the policy making process,” Jordan said.
Though she’s worked at the Center for three years, Jordan still considers herself new to advocacy and policy, but feels her life experiences have given her a strong foundation to work from.
“The commitment to community that my family instilled in me, living and trying to make a living on a farm, speaking up for the underdog in my own quiet way, and sprinkling in the study of community planning guides me in my work,” she said. “And, nothing can replace the passion I have for seeing rural residents and rural communities innovate and thrive.”
Originally from Plymouth, Nebraska, Jordan grew up in the same community where her great-great-great grandparents began farming after they immigrated from Germany in the late 1800s. And, while her parents do not farm, she says they instilled in her a love for their rural community and hard work.
“Rural America is ever-evolving, but the hard work, commitment to our neighbors, and the protection of the land that provides so much for us remains invaluable to our nation’s future, and my future,” Jordan said.
Making the future better and brighter for rural America is exactly what Jordan works toward every day.
“I think every member of our policy team and the Center staff aim for taking what is best about our rural communities—our commitment community, our natural resources, our schools, our resourcefulness, and innovation—and amplifying it, making it better, and making rural America and rural Nebraska the place where more people want to live and raise the next generation,” Jordan said.
She hopes to make a dent in that effort by advocating for policies that improve rural residents’ access to health care, services, broadband, and educational opportunities.
“These are policies that level the playing field for rural Nebraskans,” she said. “They ensure no matter your zip code, you are able to live the good life.”
Jordan, and her husband, David, a sixth generation farmer, restored and live in the farm house built by David’s great-great grandparents. There, they grow corn, soybeans, and whatever crop David is trying with each new year, along with raising chickens. The policy manager can be reached at the Center’s office in Lyons, Nebraska, at 402.687.2100 ext. 1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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