For Rural Votes, 2017 was a Groundbreaking Year Despite the Opposition

It’s been a strange, but energizing year. Everyday our resolve to fight for the rights and lifestyle of Rural America grows stronger. Our motivation is winning the war on hard working- and middle-class Rural Americans and winning the war on truth and justice.

Rural America is under assault by lawless leadership and their allies on important issues like tax fairness, quality affordable healthcare for children and adults, fair wages, family farms, good schools and colleges, incentives for small businesses expansion and equal Internet and broadband access.

Taking a look back at 2017, we all have come together to fight this battle of a lifetime for the future of America. Our efforts broke new ground in enlightening Rural Americans to the reality of a systematic bait-and-switch campaign of unkept promises by the ruling party in Washington and many Rural Governments. We should all be proud of the scorecard.

  • We won the fight to protect the core of our health care coverage, increasing access for everyone and protecting Rural Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. The victory gave more Rural Hospitals a better chance of keeping their doors open. Furthermore, a successful statewide ballot initiative in Rural Maine ushered in a first-ever voter-driven demand to expand affordable, quality health care coverage. The battle to protect healthcare is a model for activating, energizing and empowering activists from the grassroots level to the state capitals to Washington, DC.
  • We elected key lawmakers who successfully ran campaigns that focused on Rural Values and Priorities in critical races in Alabama and Virginia. In Alabama, we saw a return to the core value that “all politics is local,” allowing a race in that venerable Rural State to be run for its people, not for special interests and their singular causes. The incoming Virginia governor grew up on the Rural Eastern Shore. He talked about reversing the underinvestment in job creation needed to revitalize Rural Virginia — an example of how Rural America is influencing the national conversation from the local level.
  • Even where victory in elections escaped us, the battles were noble and hard fought. In four special House elections, Democrats outperformed Republicans in races that should have not even been close, yet they were all contested. Much was learned.
  • Our organization made strides this year in promoting voter registration, and we were steadfast in countering systematic voter suppression and intimidation that plagues Rural America. We worked to keep American elections American. We supported and enhanced get out the vote efforts at every level. Again, much was learned.
  • Across the country, we flatly rejected the forces of hate and bigotry that would seek to divide Rural Americans for the sake of their own narrow-minded and intolerant agendas. Righteous Rural Americans stood up and were counted among those who embraced inclusion, equality, harmony and good citizenship.

The Republicans trumpet the appointment of conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court as one of its crowning achievements of 2017, but we will never forgot that it was a seat stolen by GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell from a sitting Democratic leader for purely partisan gain. It was a gift to historians who will forever remember McConnell as a dishonest broker because of that partisan stunt.

While the Republican leadership branded itself as a do-nothing tribe willing to look the other way from charges and accusations brought against its members, from top to bottom, Democrats proved to be committed to dealing harshly with ethics violators among their own members.

Rural Americans are steadily becoming aware that they bought into a colossal lie in the 2016 elections. What Rural Voters got in return in 2017 was not what they paid for.

The promise for government of the people, by the people, for the people made by President Lincoln at Gettysburg reminds us now, as it did then, that our strength is in unity and prosperity for all of America. Our resolve in the fight to save Rural America grows stronger each day.

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