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Rural Matters

Jun 19, 2020

In Part III of our four-part series developed in collaboration with and underwritten by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which deals with rural poverty and key issues in the 2020 elections, Michelle chats with Nathan Ohle, CEO of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), a national network of non-profits focused on water access, economic development, and capacity building for rural communities and Kate Cassling, a Director with the Bipartisan Policy Center Action, where she works on health care policy advocacy. Ohle discusses how the role of rural and small communities has evolved in the last decade through increased engagement in local, state, and federal elections because these voters often feel ignored when it comes public policy. Broadband accessibility, telehealth, and access to water are major policy issues for rural and small communities, according to Ohle.  Cassling says that there is broad agreement on topline issues among both Democrats and Republican rural voters in terms of increased funding and improving access to health care. In addition, she says, according to a recent poll her organization conducted, three of five voters say they would be more likely to vote for the candidate who would address rural health care issues. COVID-19 now is affecting more rural communities in terms of per capita deaths, and rural voters will want hospital infrastructure improvement, access, and services, she adds. This episode also includes incisive discussion on the policies that President Trump and former Vice President Biden are touting in terms of rural health care and perceptions of the urban-rural divide in the political environment. This episode is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,