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WI Rural Voters Urged To Make Their Voices Heard

October 29, 2010

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin's rural voters face many of the same issues at election time as urban voters, but a national expert on rural issues says the problems tend to be worse in rural areas. Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, says jobs, health care and economic recovery are issues common to rural and urban voters, but often the candidates don't pay attention to rural voters.

"I long for the election when candidates from both parties are out there talking about what they're going to do to help revitalize the rural economy, to help prompt small business development in rural areas, and things like that, but right now that's not happening."

Hassebrook urges all citizens, rural and urban, to step up and fulfill their responsibility to vote next Tuesday. He says too often, rural voters aren't being heard.

"Candidates really don't speak directly to rural issues. That's unfortunate, because in many of our rural communities, the need for new and better jobs is greater than it is elsewhere, and the health care challenges are greater than elsewhere."

He also worries about the pervasive influence of money on elections.

"In our system there are two sources of power: One is money, and one is people. When people get cynical and withdraw, that's when money becomes dominant. But when people get engaged and people inform themselves and then hold their elected officials accountable, people trump money."

Democracy depends on a large voter turnout, Hassebrook adds.


Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI