In-Depth Week

Urban/Rural Divide

Urban/Rural Divide In-Depth Week Panelists

  • Dr. David Peters

    Iowa State University

  • Mike Kennon

    Cass County Emergency management

  • Matt Wetrich

    Jefferson Matters Mainstreet

  • Brent Willett

    Iowa Health Care Association

  • Deb Brown


  • Becky McCray


  • Cassandra Hecker

    Sukup Manufacturing

  • Erin Mullenix

    Iowa League of Cities

  • Dr. Lisa Remy

    School Administrators Iowa 

  • Rob Barron

    Iowa Minnesota College Compact

  • President Kathy Franken

    Upper Iowa University


  • Monday, August 21, 12 pm

    Watch Replay Now: A review of the oversimplification when looking at urban, rural communities

    Moderator: Zack Kucharski

    Panelists: Dr. David Peters

    Does the framing of an urban-rural divide in Iowa hold true, or does this framing of issues make it more difficult to find policy solutions? We’ll look at whether there are frameworks and ideas that could benefit both Iowa’s urban and rural areas.

  • Tuesday, August 22, 12 pm

    Watch Replay Now: Maintaining Services in Rural Areas

    Moderator: Erin Murphy

    Panelists: Mike Kennon, Matt Wetrich, Brent Willett

    Whether it’s health care, senior living or an attorney, how are communities working to keep services accessible to those who live there? What partnerships and policy solutions are helping or are needed to keep rural communities vibrant. We’ll focus on solutions that are being tried across the state in this session.

  • Wednesday, August 23, 12 pm

    Watch Replay Now: New Idea to action

    Moderator: Tom Barton

    Panelists: Deb Brown, Becky McCray

    How can you build support for a new idea and help open minds to it? And how can you harness the power to get new volunteers into the fold? We’ll talk to Iowa native Deb Brown and Becky McCray of Save Your Town who work with communities in Iowa and beyond on these questions.

  • Thursday, August 24, 12 pm

    Watch Replay Now: Creative workforce solutions for urban and rural communities

    Moderator: Erin Murphy

    Panelists: Cassandra Hecker, Erin Mullenix

    Workforce is tight in Iowa’s cities, but how can Iowa’s rural companies continue to grow? While changes in age opened up some opportunities, the number of occupations are limited. Can automation or policy decisions be of further help?

  • Friday, August 25, 12 pm

    Watch Replay Now: Keeping education vibrant in rural communities

    Moderator: Vanessa Miller

    Panelists: Dr. Lisa Remy, Rob Barron, President Kathy Franken

    With the majority of Iowa’s counties seeing population declines, the challenge to keep robust educational opportunities in communities is challenging. While Iowa Wesleyan closed in 2023, other higher education institutions are facing significant budget shortfalls. Meanwhile, many expressed concern about the health of rural school districts during changes to school choice laws.

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