Our colleague Al Cross has suggested that sometime in coming weeks the Democratic presidential candidates spend some quality time talking about rural America. Cross, who heads the Institute for Rural Journalism, notes that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has called for a discussion of urban issues. Hey, says the University of Kentucky professor, how about equal time for rural voters.
"Now that the Democratic field has narrowed to two candidates, and most of the primaries after Pennsylvania are in some of the more rural states, we think it's time for another forum on issues that are important to the one in five Americans who live in rural areas," Cross writes in the Rural Blog. "Here are just a few: Access to broadband and other technology for competitive economic development; how to adjust the Farm Bill to better support sustainable rural development; how to change the No Child Left Behind Act to ease its impact on rural schools while maintaining its goal of better and equal education; how to answer questions about emphasis and balance among food, agriculture and energy; and how to address the chronic problems of rural health care, including that for injured Iraq war veterans, who are disproportionately rur