Rural America key to U.S. turnaround


May 2, 2011 
CONTACT: Tim Marema, 865/748-5736,

Policy change tops agenda for 2011 National Rural Assembly 

With 55 million residents and 80 percent of the land area, rural America has a big role to play in helping the nation overcome its current economic difficulties.

"The whole country is going through a rough patch now," said Dee Davis, chairperson of the steering committee of the National Rural Assembly. "The question is whether we are going to have policy that lets everybody contribute, or are we going to keep doing the same old thing?"

Rural leaders from across the country will gather for the 2011 National Rural Assembly in St. Paul, Minn., June 28-30 to discuss rural assets and how the nation can create more opportunity for rural communities. 

"Rural America can be part of turning things around: greener energy, local food, and broadband connections to people who are currently outside of the loop," Davis said.

The 2011 National Rural Assembly will focus on building consensus around more effective rural policy. This will occur in four areas: education, health, investment in rural communities and stewardship of natural resources. Within these areas, leaders will focus on such topics as broadband access, rural youth retention, health care, housing, transportation, community development and immigration. 

Participants at the 2011 Assembly will represent community development corporations, local governments, schools, health clinics, tribal entities, libraries, businesses, youth groups, faith-based organizations and others working and living in rural areas. 

The 2011 National Rural Assembly will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel-St. Paul Riverfront, in downtown St. Paul, Minn. For more information on the 2011 National Rural Assembly, visit