1. POLICY POSITION IN SUPPORT OF INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE RURAL COMMUNITIES
Rural communities and citizens have long lagged behind their metropolitan and suburban neighbors in areas such as income, educational attainment, access to health care, and business and job opportunities. Actions by the federal and state governments to improve living conditions in rural areas have been piecemeal, and they have suffered from the lack of a coherent policy for dealing with rural problems. However, in recent years there has been growing recognition of the need for a broad and integrative rural policy and for the research necessary to develop such a policy. Our parent organization, The Council of State Governments, has been a leader in the effort to educate and assist state leaders in recognizing these needs.
The Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) of The Council of State Governments (CSG) commends and supports the efforts of states and CSG to increase awareness of rural issues and the need for integrative strategies and policies to address them. The Southern Legislative Conference commits to support these efforts by continuing to highlight innovative practices by state governments and to provide a forum for those whose ideas and efforts contribute to the betterment of rural communities in the Southern states.
Adopted by the Southern Legislative Conference, August 12, 2003, Fort Worth, Texas.