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Saturday, July 13, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

A Call for Better Broadband, Jobs, Local Investment for Rural IA

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023   

A group of rural policymakers and advocates has released its top priorities to help small towns thrive in Iowa and across the country.

The 2023 Rural Policy Action Report said right now, there is too much corporate influence and not enough access to health care in America's heartland. It calls for better investment in what it labels four "main pillars of success" in rural America.

Rep. J.D. Scholten, D-Sioux City, who attended a Rural Action Policy summit on behalf of Iowa, said chief among them is making sure people can live and work safely in Iowa's small towns without fear of facing discrimination.

"Everything from environmental justice to protection of Native American Tribes and Nations, to equitable funding in projects and labor protections, health access," Scholten outlined.

Scholten pointed out the other pillars include ensuring access to infrastructure in small Iowa towns, with equitable funding for things like broadband internet and child care, limiting the power of corporate influence in rural communities, and investing in renewable energy and other sustainability efforts at the local level.

Scholten argued a lack of local investment has a domino effect, which not only costs small towns opportunities, but causes a population decline, too. People are moving away, he said, because corporations are taking resources out, creating fewer jobs, leaving fewer reasons for people to stay and work in their hometowns.

"It's almost like their economies are extraction," Scholten contended. "We have a lot of corporations that 'take out,' whether it's corn, soybeans, hogs, wind energy, all that stuff. Not a ton is going back in, and so policies are not necessarily working for a lot of rural folks right now in rural communities."

He added this year's report built on previous years' efforts and lays the groundwork for future progress in rural Iowa and across the Midwest.


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