Governor Laura Kelly and Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers announced at a press conference on Monday the release of the Office of Rural Prosperity Listening Tour report.
The Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP), housed within the Kansas Department of Commerce, was created by Governor Kelly as a way to help revitalize and highlight rural Kansas communities.
The Office’s new report includes details regarding the unique needs and strengths of rural communities across Kansas that were gathered during a listening tour conducted this summer by Lt. Governor Rogers and outlines the Office’s recommendations for fostering growth and prosperity in these areas.
“I am proud of the work Lt. Governor Rogers has done to identify rural communities’ barriers to long-term prosperity,” Governor Kelly said. “We are committed to partnering with rural communities, to develop policies that help Kansans succeed.”
The report is a summary of conversations and public listening sessions with hundreds of Kansans about what prosperity means to their community.
“Through our discussions with rural communities, we learned a lot about rural Kansans’ unique challenges,” Lt. Governor Rogers said. “Which include housing; physical and digital infrastructure; economic and workforce development; high property taxes; and access to quality, affordable health care and child care.”
The report outlines several areas ORP will be focusing on in the coming months to begin addressing these challenges. It includes plans to create three Interagency Work Groups that will develop tools to help address the unique challenges facing rural communities in the areas of housing; childcare; and workforce recruitment, retention and education. These groups will bring together state and federal agencies to help identify what our state can be doing better when it comes to each area, find available resources and make recommendations for administrative changes.
“While the creation of the Office of Rural Prosperity and my listening tour were great first steps, we know there is much more work to do in order to facilitate growth and prosperity in rural communities,” Lt. Governor Rogers said. “I am excited to continue working to improve rural Kansans’ quality of life one step at a time.”