Academic journal article Economic Review - Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

New Governance for a New Rural Economy: Reinventing Public and Private Institutions-A Conference Summary

Academic journal article Economic Review - Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

New Governance for a New Rural Economy: Reinventing Public and Private Institutions-A Conference Summary

Article excerpt

A growing chorus of rural leaders agrees that new opportunities are on the horizon for rural America. Economic consolidation and outmigration need not be rural America's future. The question most rural regions now face is this: How to claim the new opportunities? At root, this question is all about governance-how regions make economic decisions quickly and effectively. Simply put, regional governance is about how public and private leaders work together to build new economic engines that can compete in globalizing markets.

More than 150 rural policy experts and leaders gathered in Kansas City in May to discuss new approaches to regional governance at the fifth annual rural policy conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Center for the Study of Rural America.

Participants agreed that new models of governance are long overdue in rural America. While rural communities value cooperation, all too often city limits and county lines paralyze new economic development strategies. Participants were encouraged, however, by a number of innovative partnerships now being forged in rural regions. These partnerships are often sparked by higher education and philanthropic institutions, but governments and businesses are also participating.


New Governance in Action: The True North Model

Joseph M. Sertich, Jr.-President, Northeast Higher Education District, Chisholm, Minnesota

Assessing the State of Rural Governance in the United States

Charles W. Fluharty-Director, Rural Policy Research Institute, Columbia, Missouri


Moderator: Gary Gorshing-Executive Director, South Western Oklahoma Development Authority, Burns Flat, Oklahoma

Building the Austin Technology Cluster: The Role of Government

Pike Powers-Partner, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., Austin, Texas

Discovering a New Indiana Economy: The Role of Higher Education

Martin Jischke-President, Purdue University

Sparking New Development Strategies: The Role of Nonprofits

Karl Stauber-President and Chief Executive Officer, Northwest Area Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota


New Opportunities for Public Policy: Learning from the MidSouth Partnership

Clinton Bristow, Jr.-President, Alcorn State University

J. Charles Lee-President, Mississippi State University

Seizing the New Policy Opportunities

Linda Salmonson-Public Affairs Coordinator, East River Electric Power Cooperative, Madison, South Dakota

John D. Welty-President, California State University, Fresno

Larry B. Whitaker-McLean County Judge/Executive, Calhoun, Kentucky

New governance will redefine how rural regions make economic decisions and how key institutions work together in building a new economy. Government, higher education, and the private sector, including the business and nonprofit communities, are especially important in defining governance in most rural regions. What is the state of governance in rural regions? How can regions cross jurisdictional lines and surpass the limits of old governance? And what steps can public and private leaders take to innovate governance in their region?

To shed light on these issues, the Center for the Study of Rural America hosted a conference, New Governance for a New Rural Economy: Reinventing Public and Private Institutions, May 17-18 in Kansas City, Missouri.

A distinguished group of rural experts from the United States and beyond were on hand to share their ideas. Our audience included national leaders from government, business, finance, and academe.

To receive a free copy of the conference proceedings please visit our website at or write us at:

Public Affairs Department

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

925 Grand Boulevard

Kansas City, Missouri 64198


The first session of the conference provided a working framework for regional governance, a concept that remains elusive in many parts of the nation. …

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