Rural Priorities Detailed at Forum on Innovation
Experts from public and private sectors offer solutions for the future
BASTROP – Rural leaders from across Central Texas discussed the future of economic development in rural Texas at a recent forum in Bastrop. The session, hosted by the Texas Rural Innovators Forum addressed the question, “What does rural Texas need most in 2008?”
State Senator Glenn Hegar began the discourse, noting, “Rural Texas needs to showcase its strengths - family-oriented values combined with a work ethic and community involvement.”
Other speakers included Dr. Ed Smith, Director of Texas AgriLife Extension; Greg Wortham, Mayor of Sweetwater; Bryan Daniel, immediate past director of USDA Rural Development; Glynis Hulm-Strause, Director of Continuing Education at Coastal Bend College; and David Pearson, CEO of Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals.
Colleen Landkamer of Blue Earth County, Minnesota delivered the closing keynote with a discussion of policy priorities for rural America. Ms. Landkamer is a county commissioner and immediate past president of the National Association of Counties.
Landkamer emphasized regional governance with the need for communities to conduct self-evaluations and promote entrepreneurship. She proposed an interface between urban and rural entities establishing cooperative links to compete in the global economy.
Other rural needs cited by the group included quality education and healthcare and high-speed Internet access.
The Forum is the first of the 2008 series of discussions presented by the Texas Rural Innovators Forum or “TRIF”. TRIF is a series of forums featuring national speakers on the most innovative practices in rural America. Local elected and volunteer leaders in all fields are invited to participate.
The goal of TRIF is to bring the leaders of rural Texas into personal contact with spokespeople from the most successful and innovative rural development programs in America, and to bring leaders of rural Texas together with one another to share their own energy and ideas for improvement.
Presenter Bryan Daniel is a TRIF proponent. “TRIF is meeting a valuable need for rural community leaders. The insightful presentations and meaningful dialogue provide the spark necessary to generate and motivate new thinking.” says Daniel.
The next Texas Rural Innovators Forum will be held in Bastrop on March 13. For more information, see www.ruraltx.org or call 512-499-8948.