Cindy Axne. (photo from Axne’s office)

Third district Congresswoman Cindy Axne is co-chair of the new Rural Reinvestment Task Force formed by the New Democrat Coalition in the U.S. House. Axne says she’ll be recruiting other House Democrats who can articulate a policy agenda that supports rural communities.

“I see it as an opportunity for us to have a greater voice of a concerned group of legislators who can raise these issues up,” Axne says. “…There is a big misunderstanding of what rural America does contribute.”

Last Thursday Axne heard from representatives of farm groups, the biofuels industry, and farmers growing organic crops at a forum on the Dallas County Fairgrounds. She expects other House Democrats to hold similar forums around the country.

“We want to make sure we’ve got it from the north to the south, from the east to the west,” Axne says.

Axne says the New Democrat Coalition represents 95 of the 224 Democrats in the U.S. House and the group will lobby to direct more federal resources to support rural areas, focusing on things like broadband access, housing and biofuels policy. Axne is a member of the U.S. House Ag Committee. Democratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, the other co-chair of the Rural Reinvestment Task Force, is also a member of the House Ag Committee. Bustos, who represents a district in northwest Illinois that includes Moline and Peoria, is not seeking reelection in 2022.