Contact: Johanna Kichton, [email protected], 518.867.9928
Recent Polling Shows Rural Communities Hunger for Progressive Policy that Reclaims Control of America’s Food System from Corporate Agriculture
WASHINGTON, D.C.—People’s Action today unveiled a bold, progressive federal policy agenda to support and rebuild rural America and win elections in rural communities in 2020. The announcement comes ahead of the Democratic National Convention next week and amidst recent polling showing wide support by rural communities for more progressive, anti-corporate policies than what the Democratic Party has offered in its 2020 platform. The approach spelled out in the agenda would provide urgent and direct relief to rural communities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and years of increasing corporate concentration that has hollowed out rural communities. The agenda also points a path to economic recovery that prioritizes family farmers and reimagines policies and systems to maintain resilient rural communities.
The agenda has backing from many of the largest community-based organizations organizing rural voters in key 2020 swing states, showing its power as a winning strategy.
“While pundits outside rural communities wasted four years debating which policies would win over voters in rural America, People’s Action was actually organizing rural people and listening to their concerns,” People’s Action Executive Director George Goehl said. “People are suffering, and playing nice with corporate agriculture is a dead end that has failed again and again. Rural communities favor bold, progressive policies, and that’s what our federal agenda focuses on. We urge any candidate who wants to win their election to include this agenda, and the true needs of rural America, in their platform.”
“Decades of overproduction and consolidation are at the root of the farm crisis. These problems did not start, and will not end, with Donald Trump,” Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden said. “We must unite around a rural policy agenda that includes fair prices and competitive markets for family farmers.”
“Rural people know that we can’t get out of this crisis without taking on corporate ag monopolies directly,” Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement State Policy Director Adam Mason said. “Corporate ag is bankrupting farmers, exploiting workers, poisoning our water, and hollowing out our rural communities. K Street lobbyists may not tell you this, but if you take one minute to talk to anyone actually living in a rural community, they’ll tell you this is federal policy agenda is what we need right now during COVID-19, and it’s what we’ve been needing before COVID and even before Trump, what we need for the future.”
“We’ve had thousands of conversations with people living in rural Michigan, we’re doing the work that’s necessary to actually win this election: making connections, listening to people’s pain, and making the case for change,” Michigan United Canvass Lead Susan Matthews said. “Rural people feel ignored by people in power and they’re hungry for policies in this federal agenda that will actually improve their lives. Especially during social distancing, not many people are having as many conversations with rural people as we are, and we know that this is the policy agenda it’s going to take to win.”
People’s Action’s federal policy agenda for rural communities includes three main components: Relief, Recovery, and Reimagination. Each offers policy recommendations for health care, the overdose crisis, housing, energy, and agriculture in small-town America:
- Relief: Immediate response to the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19 such as implementing the principles outlined in The People’s Bailout and policies like a moratorium on farm foreclosures until the immediate COVID-19 crisis is under control.
- Recovery: Once the immediate crisis of COVID-19 has passed, policies that should follow to support rural communities like establishing a postal banking system, requiring paid sick leave for all workers, and instituting a food and agribusiness merger moratorium.
- Reimagination: Policies to build resilient rural communities for the long haul such as banning all new fossil fuel and extractive energy projects and establishing supply management programs including grain reserves and parity pricing programs for commodity crops.
Endorsing partners include:
- Black + Green Agenda,
- Family Farm Action,
- Food & Water Watch,
- Grassroots Global Justice Alliance,
- The Highlander Research and Education Center,
- Indigenous Environmental Network,
- Justice for Migrant Women,
- Land Stewardship Project,
- Michigan Farmers Union,
- New Georgia Project,
- Sunrise Movement,
- UnHarming Ohio,
- Western States Center,
- Wisconsin Farmers Union, and
- Working Families Party.
People’s Action’s member groups that endorsed the federal policy agenda include:
- Citizen Action of Wisconsin,
- Down Home North Carolina,
- Hometown Action,
- Hometown Organizing Project,
- Hoosier Action,
- Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement,
- Maine People’s Alliance,
- Michigan United,
- Pennsylvania Stands Up,
- People’s Action Institute,
- Progress North,
- Progressive Maryland,
- Rights & Democracy,
- Rights & Democracy Institute,
- TakeAction MN,
- United Vision for Idaho,
- West Virginia Citizen Action Group.
About People’s Action
People’s Action is a national network of 40 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. Our organization recently released a vision for a national Homes Guarantee that has already prompted major legislation from champions including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. Prior to endorsing a candidate for president, we completed a national forum series that included Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, and Andrew Yang. The Nation called our Iowa forum the “most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.