A real rural caucus

Friday, January 30, 2004

The Hannibal Courier-Post

A group of 14 Democrat representatives has had enough. They believe rural Missourians are not given a fair deal by the state legislature and have joined forces to change that.

The representatives have formed the Rural Democratic Caucus, the brainchild of Wayne Henke and Jim Seigfreid. ...

In announcing their intentions, the group states it wants to work to get "our fair share" for those in rural Missouri.

Among the issues in the group's Bill of Rights for Rural Missouri are equitable funding for rural schools as well as equal funding for rural health care, economic development, transportation and technology development. The group also has a host of other issues on which it is willing to stand firm, such as opposition to closing and consolidating rural schools and wanting to fully fund ethanol and biodiesel programs.

Too often rural needs get bypassed for those from the big cities. Lawmakers must strike a balance between the needs of the metropolitan areas and those from smaller communities.

By banding together on issues that touch rural residents and businesses, the caucus members believe they will create a stronger voice. ...

We would go a step further, however. If representatives truly want to work to insure that rural interests are not overlooked, then why not form a rural caucus composed of both Republican and Democratic representatives from rural districts? If rural interests are to be properly looked after, we will need all of the support possible from both sides of the aisle.

Let's work together.

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