Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not so rural

This article from the Daily Yonder website breaks down the voting patterns of rural Democrats on last week's health insurance reform vote. For Gem State residents, the most interesting point is that Idaho's 1st Congressional District is not among the 100 most rural in the nation. Only about a third of the district is considered rural; the rest is urban. And yet Idaho politicians and parties consistently focus their appeals to the rural and small-town vote.

Why is this? Perhaps it's because all Idahoans, no matter where we live, identify with and love the outdoors - our magnificent mountains, our wild rivers and canyon lands, and the high-desert stillness abundantly available just minutes from our largest metro area. But the fact is, Idaho is increasingly urban, with the sort of issues - traffic, clean air and water, crowded classrooms, economic development - that dominate metropolitan life. We play in the mountains and enjoy small-town weekends, but we live, work, and go to school in cities and large towns.

Our state's current political leadership is rural in the extreme, with ranchers running the show. When will Idaho's metropolitan population rise up and vote for representation that identifies with the state's increasingly urban needs?

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