Welcome to 2022, New Digital Journalism Nationally and Locally, Income Inequality, Reapportionment in Michigan, and Lack of Rural Representation

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This Week in Rural Insights

We are baaaack. Hope you enjoyed our holiday break like we did. This week in Rural Insights look for our latest podcast–David Haynes sits down with Ed Legault, Executive Director of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance. We’ll be publishing this on Wednesday morning.

Welcome to 2022

Happy New Year and here is to a successful, peaceful and COVID/Omicron-free year. 

We are thankful for the NMU student researchers and faculty members who have worked with us this past year. We have a dedicated group of students who work with us everyday in making sure that we have interesting ideas, information and facts about rural life and the work around us.

Same is true of our fantastic authors who give us their knowledge, observation and dedication and they are joined by NMU faculty members who work with us and the NMU students.

Their names are published on our website–www.ruralinsights.org. Rural Insights is thankful for the amazing growth we experienced this past year. A big shout out to the thousands of our readers and subscribers for their support, advice and dedication to digital citizen journalism.

Reporting on the World Around Us as it Impacts Our Communities

As our regular readers know, we report and feature information about the Upper Peninsula, as well as statewide and regional information and features. We focus on rural issues, people and concerns, but we also report on people all around the region and the globe who influence and/or impact the Upper Peninsula.

Let us know what you think about the “world around us” articles and information we publish during the year.

New Digital Journalism Across America and the Upper Peninsula

Nonprofit news outlets and digital news forums are filling the spaces left by “fading local newspapers” all across our nation.. Axios news also reports that these new digital, nonprofit news outlets “are providing community service information more…”

Many digital news platforms are providing traditional news and investigative news to local communities. Many communities depend on these digital news services for local news, policy forums and opinion forums.

Tell us about local digital news forums in your Upper Peninsula community or wherever you live. Tell us about digital news you have locally from blogs, podcasts and newsletters produced in your community for your community. We want to hear about them and report here about their successes and impact on your local community.

A Smile to Begin the New Year–Aliens Arriving on Earth

We were contacted by a reader that we should do more research and reporting on how the US should prepare for aliens arriving on earth. When I asked if they meant the kind that come on rocket ships, etc., they responded yes.

They said some of these aliens are already on earth. I said I would like to do a podcast with them and one of these aliens–then they hung up. Oh well, I tried. If you see any of these aliens let me know. Smile, smile and smile. 2022 is looking like a very interesting year.

Income Inequality

We continue to see polls that say this issue of income inequality is continuing to show up as an important issue for many, many Americans. They are worried, concerned and say they want Congress to do something. Lots of suggestions on what “something” is.

Read recently (Between the Lines) that “CEOs are paid hundreds of times the average worker’s wages.” Certainly not true of all CEOs in all communities. Nevertheless, people are still concerned and have income problems making ends meet regardless of where they live. 

Reapportionment in Michigan, Michigan Supreme Court and Justice for Rural Communities

The new congressional and legislative district maps are public now. They were done by an Independent Citizens Reapportionment Commission that was created by a citizen ballot initiative. This Commission has been in the news a lot lately and some in the Upper Peninsula have criticized the new UP legislative/congressional district boundaries.

We will have more about that in the coming weeks and months. It is important that as we all read news and opinion reports about the maps that we remember there is not one member of this commission that drew the maps that is a resident of the Upper Peninsula.

In fact, it is also important to note that there is no rural representation from anywhere in the state on the commission–it appears to be composed completely of metropolitan urban/suburban areas. No rural voice–again.

Some are arguing that the map boundaries should be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. Who knows what will happen.

We want our readers to note that there is no member of the Michigan Supreme Court who is from the Upper Peninsula. No rural voice on the court since all the justices are from, again, metropolitan urban/suburban areas, no rural voices. 

Same is true by the way for the Michigan State Board of Education–all the members are metropolitan urban/suburban residents. No UP members and no rural members. No rural voices–again.

As much as one-fifth of Michigan would be considered rural. Hmmm. Let’s think about that and about justice and access for all–all Michiganders, urban, suburban AND rural.

Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm

“Destroying the mechanisms of democracy to preserve democracy won’t work.” Gary Kasparov.

“Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” Bishop Desmond Tutu.

How Are We Doing?

We are eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and our articles, podcasts, videos and research. What should we be covering in this newsletter and in Rural Insights that we aren’t currently? What are we getting wrong? Please send them to david@ruralinsights.org.

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If so, please forward it to your friends, and let them know they can sign up on our website: www.ruralinsights.org.

WE REPORT, NOT ADVOCATE.

 FACTS, DATA, INFORMATION AND 

 RESEARCH.

bold fix

David Haynes

Professor David Haynes is a Professor of Public Administration and teaches in the MPA graduate program at Northern Michigan University, where he previously served as President. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.

8 Comments

  1. John Porter on January 10, 2022 at 7:40 am

    As one who has been committed to Upper Peninsula and/or rural living all 50 years of his adult years, I would much prefer having governmental leaders who share my values than having rural people as members of those governmental organizations you cite who are isolationist and conservative to the point of not valuing diversity and multiculturalism. Having a residential address in a rural location is the least qualifying factor to holding an important position in Michigan government, in my opinion.

    • Janet Wagner on January 10, 2022 at 10:40 am

      I totally agree. I live in the U.P. and am flabbergasted by the number of “f**k Biden” signs I have to drive by, the general public’s flouting of vaccines and lmask-wearing, and the evident takeover of local government positions by ultra-right wing radicals, especially in the Keweenaw. The composition of the Citizens Redistricting Commission was carefully monitored for equal political representation (4 Dems, 4 Republicans, 5 independents). Answers on the required (extensive) application forms of each candidate were carefully considered.

  2. ERIC GORT on January 10, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    I want to throw my support behind John and Janet’s comments above. I’ve had the same experiences in the Marquette area. Although I’m sure there are very competent people around here, to have an attitude that we must pick someone from the UP just because they’re from the UP doesn’t guarantee equality and fairness will be their motive. The signs on the roadside and actions/attitudes tell me otherwise.

  3. Howard Campbell Jr on January 10, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    I can see the utility of having rural advocates for redistricting, education and natural resources on various state boards. However, I don’t think someone’s zip code should be a determining factor in the selection process.

    Re: MI Supreme Court
    Just as we shouldn’t have Democrat or Republican judges, we shouldn’t have rural or urban judges. Judges aren’t advocates or representatives, nor should there be any expectation that they do so for their urban or rural district.

  4. Dianne Rose on January 10, 2022 at 2:43 pm

    Living in the U.P myself, I would say if we have representation from the U.P of Michigan it is a good thing. As far as F***k Joe Biden goes. If you haven’t figured out what the globalist plan is by now (and the implementation) using this installed regime in the white house, then your blinded. I would NEVER trust a democratic politician again in my life. Half the republicans are rino’s as well.

    • Howard Campbell Jr on January 10, 2022 at 2:53 pm

      And the beat goes on

      • dianne rose on January 10, 2022 at 11:37 pm

        You said it. So sad that people are waking up to reality isn’t it?

  5. Kevin Boyle on January 10, 2022 at 11:06 pm

    Not having a rural voice on any of these bodies makes them, at best, disconnected from rural concerns. That lack of understanding drives decisions that are disconnected from rural reality. And that disconnect in turn drives the resentment shown in the signs complained about in prior posts.

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