Institute a new Michigan Department: The Department of Rural Affairs And Development, RAAD

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Unquestionably, rural communities in Michigan are falling behind. The challenges rural communities are facing are profound – so profound it has led national publications to dismissively ask, “Can Rural America be saved.” We believe that the implications of this question (that no one knows how to solve the problems facing our rural communities) are false and misleading. We believe the State of Michigan can take historic action to help rural communities by creating a Department of Rural Affairs and Development (RAAD). It is truly a radical idea in that it would position Michigan to be a national leader on rural prosperity, as no state in the country has yet dedicated a singular, systematic focus towards solutions for the undoubted, unique, and complicated challenges that are behind the struggles of our rural communities.  It is a solution that can be implemented immediately, with relatively little costs to the State, but yet serve as the catalyst for discovering solution-oriented ways to stem the tide on such complicated issues as rural poverty, “brain drain,” stagnation of wages, and talent attraction, as well as shine a spotlight on Michigan as a national leader on rural education, rural economic diversification and growth, and delivering world class rural healthcare.  However, these are but a few of the examples of how state policy may be positively impacted through the creation of such a Department - there are unquestionably many others, which speaks to the need for the State of Michigan to embrace this transformative approach. 

So, please join stakeholders from around Michigan (a few of which are visible above) in asking Governor Gretchen Whitmer to immediately implement a new department within her administration that is imperative for the health and well-being of Michigan’s rural communities.