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Town Hall Featured Panelists Seeking to Bust Stereotypes About Rural Communities and Lay Out How To Win Back Rural Voters This Election Season
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) yesterday joined People’s Action to host a town hall where he, People’s Action Director George Goehl, and rural leaders from across the country disrupted narratives about rural communities and discussed what rural and small-town America needs this election season and beyond. No other progressive organization has focused on organizing rural communities since the 2016 election like People’s Action, which started with deep listening sessions throughout rural America and now runs the only national deep canvassing voter outreach program.
“We are living in the wealthiest country in the history of the world. People at the very top are doing phenomenally well, while millions of families, especially in rural America, are struggling to put food on the table – to simply maintain a semblance of security and dignity. And so what this moment in history is about and what this campaign is about is bringing all of our people together to guarantee health care as a human right, lower the cost of prescription drugs, make sure all our young people can attend college without going deeply into debt and create millions of good paying jobs by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels. We’ve got a month and a half to protect American Democracy and to start building an economy that works for all of us – not just the wealthy few,” Senator Bernie Sanders said.
“Being born in the sticks of Indiana, this work is personal to me,” People’s Action Director and To See Each Other Podcast Host George Goehl said. “I’ve always wanted to tell a different story about rural America, one that complicates our typical understanding of the people who live there. Rural and small-towns are filled with compassionate communities that want everything we do: clean water, high-quality schools, and affordable health care. We just need to take the time to listen — and then fight, together, for a government that works for us all.”
“I’m living through the emptying out of rural America; the shrinking of rural communities; jobs disappearing; income & tax revenues leaving our towns instead of staying to support them,” Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund Leader Barb Kalbach said. “The number of factory farms has boomed across our state. And many problems for family farmers, Iowa citizens, and our environment are the result. I want to reverse that dynamic and help rural America thrive once again.”
The town hall took place on the heels of People’s Action release of a historic study that confirmed deep canvassing can significantly reduce Trump support in rural and small-town America in key battleground states, a documentary podcast—To See Each Other—chronicling rural organizing, and a federal policy roadmap backed by a diverse set of rural and progressive communities.
Watch the town hall recording here.
About People’s Action
People’s Action is a national network of 36 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. The Nation called our Iowa presidential forum the “most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.