Rural economic development caucus hopes to expand view on state’s economy

A fledgling legislative caucus hopes to shine a light onto the state’s economy outside the business hubs of St. Louis and Kansas City.

The Rural Economic Development caucus met for the first time earlier this month, focused on highlighting the economic work done outside of Missouri’s two largest cities.

Some of the key issues the caucus wants to explore include rural broadband expansion to boost small businesses and give rural students equal opportunity, job training and encouraging entrepreneurship in rural areas.

Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, R-Carrollton, serves as chair of the caucus. Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, is vice chair.

Despite the fact the caucus was founded by six Republicans, two Democrats from the St. Louis region, Reps. Tracy McCreery and Bruce Franks, have said they are keen on attending more meetings, which McGaugh said he welcomes. He wants a wide variety of perspectives to contribute to the caucus’ agenda and possibly gain some insight from urban and suburban legislators.

The caucus does not yet have solid legislative plans, but McGaugh sees the formative part of the caucus investigating what can be done to help their own localities.

Read more: Missouri Times

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