The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance and InvestUP are teaming up to push a concept they have termed the Rural Affairs and Development Department (RAAD for short) within the state of Michigan.
In December 2018, the New York Times, almost dismissively, authored a News Analysis which asked, “Can Rural America Be Saved?”
That article led University of Michigan Professor Jean Hardy to author an answer to that Analysis that essentially said the Times is asking the wrong question and that their “insistence that no one out there knows how to solve problems of the rural economy is a false and misleading one.”
The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance and InvestUP came together with him to try to develop some prospective policy solutions to answer the Times question.
From that, we have come to believe that one policy solution that Michigan can immediately implement is to create a new State Department or cabinet-level position that is charged with looking at how issues impact and advance opportunity for rural Michigan.
By embracing a cabinet-level Department, Michigan has the opportunity to be a progressive leader in addressing the undoubted and unique challenges that rural communities are facing, setting a precedent, as no other state in the Country has embraced such an approach.
That is the very reason we are now asking for support from rural, business, and community interests across the state. We believe that this concept will permit, for the first time, a singular focus on issues, challenges, and opportunities as they relate to the work and interests in rural Michigan.
Some of those challenges are highlighted in the attached White Paper which Professor Hardy authored to promote and advance the discussion on this concept.
Interested? You can support this concept and our coalition’s efforts in the future by contacting:
Kent Wood, Alliance Director of Government Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Clickner, CEO, Lake Superior Community Partnership, email@example.com