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Politics

Daschle Forms Rural Progressive Policy Organization

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Former South Dakota Democratic US Senator Tom Daschle is joining other prominent national democrats to form a group that advocates for progressive policies in rural state’s like South Dakota.

Daschle says they’re just in the beginning stage, but the group hopes to rebuild the two-party system in rural America.

Former Senator Daschle is working alongside former USDA Secretary and Governor Tom Vilsack and US Senator Mary Landrieu to organize rural progressives ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Daschle says social issues like abortion and guns have had an impact on Democratic representation in rural America. But he says progressive policy on broader issues, like agriculture, education, healthcare and trade.

“There’s a robust agenda that really needs addressed," Daschle says. "While we may not agree on every issue, I think it’s important that Democrats need to articulate, with a clear vision what we hope to do in our county and in our states as it addresses the many challenges and opportunities going forward.”

State Democrats are coming off two years of low representation in the statehouse. The left had 16 members total, out of a 105 member legislature.

Officials with the party say they’ve got primary challengers this election in at least 101 of those districts. They say that’s the most candidates for a midterm election since 1984.

“More and more we’ve seen one party dominance and we really don’t think that’s healthy for our democracy or really for the leadership that our country and our states need so badly," Daschle says. "This is designed to recreate that wholesome, two-party process that we’ve depended on through our history.”

Daschle says, by and large, Republicans drifted to more rural areas and Democrats to more urban areas. He says that’s unhealthy.