A Resolution for Rural America

The dawning of a new year is a time when most of us resolve to improve our lives in some way. This year, I resolve to dedicate myself to ensuring that President-elect Obama lives up to his potential and to the promises he made to rural America during the nomination and election processes. And I resolve that I will continue to hold all of our elected officials, be they Republicans or Democrats, accountable to the campaign promises they made to rural America.
It is appropriate that rural Americans ask the tough questions of our other elected leaders.  Will the promised reforms of farm programs and livestock markets be forthcoming?  Will efforts to stimulate the American economy include investments in proven strategies to revitalize rural communities?  Will the health care reform debate take into account the unique health care challenges that rural Americans face?

President-elect Obama, Senator McCain and a lot of other candidates spent more time in rural communities in the last election cycle because of the predicted, and realized, importance of the rural vote in the 2008 election.  But, in a larger sense, we cannot expect our elected leaders to fulfill their promises unless we are willing to take responsibility for ensuring that they do.  The attention that rural America received last year will not be long remembered unless those of us who live here remind our elected officials, as many times as it takes, that rural communities matter.

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