We are pleased to share the conference report from the June 2013 gathering of the National Rural Assembly in Bethesda, Maryland.
This year’s Assembly evidenced two big truths--that rural America is diverse and is stronger because of it, and that rural Americans are looking to create a hopeful future for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren.
Assembly participants came from 37 states, representing every region of the country and our nation’s capital, from small towns and remote farms, Native American reservations and some of our country’s largest cities. They ranged in age from late teens to retirement—with 33% of them under age 30. Within that diversity, there emerged a common narrative in which rural America is a true partner in delivering a prosperous future for everyone, no matter who you are, where you come from, or who your mama is.
Participation from the White House made this year’s gathering particularly energizing, as it included leaders from various Administrative departments and federal agencies and special keynotes from U.S. Secretaries Tom Vilsack and Kathleen Sebelius. Speakers and panelists addressed some of the defining issues of our time, from immigration to climate change, from healthcare to youth opportunity, to name just a few.