Rural voices essential to democratic process 

Across the country, lawmakers are gathering in their respective state capitols and Washington, D.C. to begin another year of debating and passing legislation.

The democratic process is something America prides itself on and one that requires input from citizens to thrive. While the process for public input varies by state, there is one commonality that exists — lawmakers need to hear directly from their constituents on issues that are important to them.

So, how can you make sure your voice is heard?

Whether you’re interested in federal, state or local policy, you can share your views by interacting directly with elected officials by writing, calling or visiting them. Testifying in person is also an effective way to ensure your voice is heard, but we understand attending a hearing may not be feasible. Other options include writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or sharing information on social media.

However you choose to engage with your representatives, providing an authentic constituent voice is important while making sure to keep your message simple, civil, and focused. The representative or audience you are addressing needs to know who you are, why the issue matters to you, and what action you want taken. In the case of legislation, this means urging the representative to vote yes or no on a specific proposal.

Commenting on an issue should also be timely. Try to speak to representatives or place your story in the media at a key moment, such as before a hearing or floor debate.

Whatever your reason for becoming a rural advocate, the Center for Rural Affairs is here to help. Please visit for more information and resources on advocacy.

State and national policies have a direct impact on how we live our daily lives. If you are passionate about an issue, we encourage you to step up and let your voice be heard.

About the Center for Rural Affairs
Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action-oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.