AP NEWS

Programs will find out what’s important to rural residents

April 13, 2019

ST. PAUL — What is on the minds of rural Minnesotans?

Minnesota Farmers Union aims to help make the answers more clear.

For the third year, the organization is holding Rural Voices Discussions to hear from farmers and rural residents.

“It is not easy for many rural Minnesotans to get to the Capitol or even to make their voices heard online,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “Our Rural Voices Discussions provide the opportunity for farmers and rural residents to speak out about issues affecting them, directly with people who need to know about it.

“With negative farm income, unsustainable health care costs, lack of internet access and crumbling roads, rural people are facing some tough times. We strongly encourage all rural Minnesotans to attend the Rural Voices Discussions in their areas.”

Wertish will lead a listening panel along with officials from the Walz administration and others. Congressional staff and state legislators often attend the sessions as well.

Attendees may bring up any topic for discussion — the panelists are there to listen and take notes. At the end, they will respond with reflections on what they heard and what they might be able to do with the information.

Each of the discussions will be livestreamed on the MFU Facebook page. Follow along with them on social media with the hashtag #RuralVoices. The discussions are open to the public.

The next Rural Voice programs will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. April 12 at Pioneer Public Television, 1 Pioneer Drive, Granite Falls; April 17 in Alexandria; and 10 to 11:30 a.m. April 26 at Artisan Plaza, 1223 Fourth St. S., Cannon Falls. Programs were held earlier this month in St. Peter and Winthrop.