Study: Rural Minnesota losing power at state Capitol

A new study today from the nonprofit Center for Rural Policy and Development is warning that rural Minnesota is losing its influence at the State Capitol.

The research points out that fewer Minnesotans have any ties to rural life or an understanding of the rural economy that urban areas rely on. Interviews and surveys also found that influential statewide organizations are increasingly focused on the Twin Cities and regional centers. Brad Finstad, executive director of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, said the report is aimed at highlighting rural concerns ahead of next week’s start of the legislative session.

“We’re kind of at that tipping point,” Finstad said. “You know, you look at the redistricting and representation, I mean I think now we’re probably at a deficit in seats. So, it’s important that we do a good job of educating our brothers and sisters in the metro area.”

Finstad, who is a former Republican state representative, said the report is also a challenge to rural organizations to collaborate better on key issues, education, transportation and health care.