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Rep. Russell Ott: Dems spotlight rural US

Jan 11, 2023

CYMI: The Times and Democrat: Dems spotlight rural US

In a new op-ed in The Times and Democrat, State Representative Russell Ott highlighted how South Carolina’s proposed first-in-the-nation status in the 2024 Democratic primary will elevate rural issues, build stronger coalitions with rural communities, and strengthen the Democratic nominee.

Read the op-ed below:

The Times and Democrat: COMMENTARY: Dems spotlight rural US

By Rep. Russell Ott

  •     As a Democratic state lawmaker representing a rural area in South Carolina, I see the proposed decision by Democrats to move South Carolina to the front of the presidential nominating process as an encouraging sign and hopefully part of a larger, renewed effort to reach rural voters.
  •     South Carolina is one of the greatest states in the union, home to a diverse population that represents our entire country. It’s a state that can be easily traveled and has affordable media markets, making it viable for all candidates.
  •     But it’s the people here that make our state the best option to lead the Democratic presidential primary. While politics nationwide has grown increasingly polarized and tribal, South Carolinians have resisted letting political differences get in the way of decency and respect. If we’re looking for a presidential nominee who can bridge the ever-widening gap between the two parties, South Carolinians will find that person.
  •     We are a diverse state, home to nearly 25,000 farms with our agricultural industry contributing over $50 billion annually and over 200,000 jobs to the state’s economy; while also supporting a huge manufacturing workforce.
  •     That’s not to mention our rural communities are far from monolithic. A candidate winning here must be able to appeal to retirees as well as young voters. Furthermore, Black voters in South Carolina deserve this recognition as they have proven time and time again that their votes determine outcomes.
  •     Democrats have lost ground in rural communities nationwide over the past few decades. This investment in a rural state can be monumental in turning the tide. To speak candidly, many rural communities feel left behind and forgotten.
  •     It is harder to attract high-paying jobs to our communities because of a lack of infrastructure, child care and transportation, which negatively impacts our education funding as well.
  •     I’ve seen how we suffer from an institutional lack of access to health care. I live in a county that has no OBGYN, which too often can put women’s health at serious risk.
  •     From lacking high-speed broadband and recreational activities to retaining law enforcement, rural South Carolina is facing challenging issues that need to be addressed by anyone and everyone deserving of the chance to become our nation’s leader.
  • I, and many of my colleagues in South Carolina, are proud that the Democrats are putting our state first in the presidential primary. We know that if candidates can win in the rural parts of South Carolina, they can win anywhere, and we appreciate this investment in rural communities.

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