press releaseGraphic with blue logo that reads "2023 rural policy action report / a roadmap for rural progress." Behind the logo is an image of a bearded African American man wearing a black baseball cap and orange henley talking to a woman in a plaid shirt holding a thermos mug. Behind them to the left is a man in a cowboy hat and jean jacket holding a sign next to an older gentleman talking to a woman.

News from Progress Michigan

Monday, September 11, 2023

Contact: Levi Teitel,

New Report Highlights Policy Action for Rural America  

Progress Michigan joins rural communities in developing roadmaps to succeed and prosper

MICHIGAN – A national collaborative of rural policy and advocacy organizations released their 2023 Rural Action Policy Report, outlining specific investments, policy improvements, and regulatory reforms to provide the tools rural communities need to succeed. 

The report highlights the ongoing challenges people in rural communities face, the numerous policy successes since the publication of the previous report in 2021, and recommends federal policies that will continue to improve jobs, infrastructure, and resources for these communities.

“Bold policies that build up communities, empower workers and ensure families are able to thrive — that’s what a progressive rural agenda can look like,” said Sam Inglot, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Michiganders want to build a future around safer, more inclusive, and equitable communities, and that includes holding corporations accountable for their greed, expanding reproductive health care, and ensuring that folks have access to the ballot box regardless of where they live.” 

The 2023 report contains four pillars: protecting people’s freedom to live and work safely and without discrimination; investing in foundational infrastructure for thriving communities; safeguarding the power of workers, small businesses, and family farmers to build a good life; and ensuring opportunities for a more secure, prosperous, and sustainable future. This comprehensive guide is intended to bring into account the diverse perspectives across rural America and outline how across race, gender, and background rural people can live a life of dignity, respect, and prosperity. 

Contributors to the report include Progress Michigan, Center for Change: a Northern Michigan Advocacy Group, along with the national affiliates of state organizations like American Federation of Teachers Michigan. 

“In rural areas and small towns across Michigan, our public schools are where families come together, our children grow up and learn and form a foundation for our communities,” said Gary Wellnitz, Northern Michigan field representative for AFT Michigan. “Now, we need to plan ahead to make sure our communities are set up for success, including investing in child care, housing, and broadband. The Rural Policy Action Report does a good job of outlining ways we can build this foundational infrastructure while outlining how to expand higher education access in rural communities and eliminate teacher shortages. Our lawmakers should pay attention to these solutions shaped by folks living and working in rural communities because these are urgent priorities worth fighting for.” 

“We are in a time of incredible federal investment; however, it’s concerning that rural areas could get left behind,” said Joanne Galloway, executive director of Center for Change: a Northern Michigan Advocacy Group. “Rural communities and small towns often lack the capacity to take advantage of federal funding, and without financial and technical support they can fall through the cracks. The Rural Policy Action Report shows how we can build strength and power to make sure our neighbors don’t get left behind. Through building community networks and empowering individuals in our rural communities, we will make sure we get the attention and the policies needed to build rural economies.” 

Earlier this year, Progress Michigan joined more than 50 rural advocates from across the country in Omaha, Nebraska for the 2023 Rural Policy Summit. They identified key federal and state policies designed to support rural people and the places they live. Advocates discussed priority legislation and executive action that will ensure how all working families can have the opportunity and tools to build a good life and strengthen their communities. 

“Together with aligned groups we helped compile a report for rural America that centers racial and social equity and outlines how we can build a fairer economy with good jobs, quality public education, and clean air and water,” said Levi Teitel, rural communications coordinator for Progress Michigan. “Whether you’re in Sault Ste. Marie or Sanilac County, the Rural Policy Action Report will resonate with Michigan communities.” 


The report is available at RuralPolicyAction.US. Viewers can also see the 2023 federal policy recommendations combined with state-level recommendations from the 2022 Blueprint for Rural Policy Action in the States at RuralPolicyAction.US/Policy-Priorities/ which features necessary progressive priorities in Michigan.