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Rural Tour fostering a nationwide discussion on rural issues

Since the first event in June, we’ve been excited to see the Rural Tour generating really thoughtful conversation and debate on the issues facing rural America. At town hall forums across the nation, Secretary Vilsack and his counterparts across the government have met with large, sometimes overflow, crowds. They’ve been able to answer questions and engage in productive debate on the best ways to help rural America.

And, people are starting to notice:

Charlotte Observer: Civility and respect rule at bipartisan town hall meeting
Breaking a pattern of raucous encounters across the country, more than 600 people Monday attended a town hall meeting marked by civility, substance and even bipartisanship.

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell joined two Cabinet secretaries in fielding questions from an overflow audience at Richmond Community College.

PoliticsDaily: Tom Vilsack’s Farm-Country Tour: A Different Kind of Town Hall
Health care town-hall meetings are certainly stealing the spotlight these days — but they’re not the only game in town. Mostly unnoticed, a quieter series of town halls is taking place on a different crisis: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has embarked on a listening tour through rural America to hear about the problems facing farmers. And it’s a good thing too, because back on the farm, all is not well.

On Wednesday at the Iowa State Fair, a group of farmers gathered from all over the state. Walking straight past the 1,000-pound squash, a 600-pound butter sculpture of a cow and the stand selling fried Milky Way bars, the farmers sat down to detail some of the problems they were facing to their former governor.

Quad City Times: Vilsack Returns To Iowa Fair, Talks About Rural Issues
Wednesday’s rural issues forum at the Iowa State Fair featuring U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack lacked some of the fireworks that have accompanied health-care forums around the nation. This forum was more polite, with the former Iowa governor telling about the Obama administration’s policies and farmers asking questions about specific programs, such as a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it would give borrowers more leeway to restructure loans.

This forum was more polite, with the former Iowa governor telling about the Obama administration’s policies and farmers asking questions about specific programs, such as a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it would give borrowers more leeway to restructure loans.

Richmond County Daily Journal: Elected leaders touch on issues
The emerging green economy, school nutrition and healthcare were just some of the subjects discussed at a meeting that followed the White House’s Rural Tour event at Cole Auditorium Monday.

The four-person panel consisted of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell and two Obama cabinet members: Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The purpose of the Rural Tour is to listen to the concerns of individuals in rural areas, and share what the administration is putting in place to answer those concerns. The meeting at Cole was scheduled to focus on education and workforce development.

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