Veterans in the Upper Peninsula, SAIL, Michigan Presidential Primary Approaching, America’s Older Leadership, Our Aging Population, & More From Our Reader Survey



This Week on Rural Insights

On Wednesday we will be publishing an piece by Bill Vajda that he wrote for the holiday season. In it he discusses Marquette’s challenges with community involvement and charity as it approaches its bicentennial. Vajda also highlights a decline in charitable giving and volunteerism due to economic pressures and changing generational attitudes, and stresses the importance of adapting community support strategies to maintain vital civic activities in light of these shifts.

Don’t miss this article on Wednesday!

Veterans in the Upper Peninsula

We have written many times that our region is blessed with so many women and men who have volunteered to give their service to our military and our nation. This has resulted in a very high rate of veterans in the Upper Peninsula.

Every day across the nation 17 veterans die by suicide. A number of researchers have found “that 92% of veterans want to help another veteran experiencing a mental health challenge, but only 25% feel prepared to do so.”

Instead of saying “thank you for your service,” find out what you can do to support veterans in your community that may need a helping hand, a friend to listen to their story, or some direction in finding professional mental health help.

Upper Peninsula Veteran Issues: SAIL

Upper Peninsula veterans are served by programs such as SAIL in Marquette. SAIL stands for Superior Alliance for Independent Living. SAIL “aims to provide recreational events for veterans and their immediate families throughout all 15 counties in the UP.”

Watch for more on this important program in coming weeks on our website.

The Michigan Presidential Primary Only 75 Days Away

The 2024 Presidential primary will be two weeks earlier than in past Michigan Presidential primaries.

We get to vote for our candidate choice in Michigan on February 27, 2024. Plan to get out and vote. Support rural policy issues and support candidates who support rural policy issues.

America’s Older Leadership

The current US Senate is the oldest in American history. 79% of Americans now support age limits for elected officials. Michigan’s US Senator, Debbie Stabenow, is a young 73, and that is young by Senate standards.

She announced that it was time for new younger leadership and she was not seeking reelection in 2024. That is very rare in the US Congress. Kudos to our Senator. Your thoughts on this aging political leadership issue?

Our Aging US Population

  • 70% of US senior citizens will need long-term care services as they age.

  •  Only 13% of 75+ of senior citizens who now live alone can afford assisted living.

  • Only 14% can afford in-home care.

  •  40% of Americans 65+ live alone.

  • 60% of 80+ year olds  live alone.

  • Every state, including Michigan, is experiencing a growing shortage of care providers.

All this according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. 2022.

More From Our Reader Survey Results

We asked our readers what four words/phrases accurately reflect their definition of what it means to be an American. Here are some of the reader responses:

  • Freedom, democracy, prosperity, progress
  • The best thing ever
  • Freedom to choose
  • Loyalty honor respect tradition
  • Free to do what I want
  • This is not a useful question.
  • Joyful. Independent. Friends
  • Proud of our freedom
  • Loyal
  • Huh. Tricky. What it means to be American through the eyes of the rest of the world? Or what it means to be American through biased, America-is-the-best lens? Or what as Americans we should be striving to be? The answer to each of those is wildly different.
  • Community, opportunity, balance, compromise
  • Freedom to live our lives to its fullest.
  • Working together for good of majority
  • Freedom to disagree respectfully
  • Model of democracy at home and in the world. Respect the rights and value all people equally. Leader in addressing climate change. Leader in promoting peace and human rights in the world.
  • Strength, equality, compassionate, and friendly
  • hopeful, tolerant, respectful, responsible
  • Liberty/justice for all
  • Duty God and country
  • Informed, engaged, educated, rational
  • Democratic, free, morally responsible, fair
  • Proud of what we have, yet embarrassed how we behave.  Hopeful we’ll get better, afraid of a fascist state
  • America is freedom.
  • Christian-Patriot- Hard worker- Good parent
  • Free market limited government
  • Inclusive, tolerant, world leader
  • Free thought – separation of church and state – indigenous treaty rights – equality and justice for all
  • Freedom of speech
  • Equality for all regardless of color, gender or religious affiliation, right to Housing and medical care and truly care for our fellow Americans
  • Constitutional republic
  • Rule of law, representative government, e pluribus unum
  • Freedom for all
  • Free to choose the best path for myself while ensuring that choice is experienced equitably by all.
  • Opportunity, liberty, personal responsibility.


“Those who stand for nothing fall for everything.” Alexander Hamilton.

“Credulity and falsehood copulate and give birth to opinion.” Paul Valery.

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David Haynes

David Haynes has served as a professor of public administration and public policy. He previously has served as President of Northern Michigan University. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.


  1. Faye Williams on December 24, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    Stop election day results on election day. No results until all ballots are verified. However long it takes. All ballots to be counted the day after the election. Results announced after all ballots are verified. Prison sentences for voter fraud and loss of privileges to vote in the future.

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