In late July, the New Democrat Coalition named Axne and Illinois Democrat Cheri Bustos as co-chairs of the Rural Reinvestment Task Force. Axne recently told IARN affiliate KMA that the group is aimed at being a voice for rural communities across the country.

“As a fifth generation Iowan, I personally know the faces and stories of rural Americans,” said Axne. “Honestly, I know too many of us feel that the federal government has forgotten them and their families. Over my first couple of years in Congress, I fought to be a voice for rural America through the voices of rural Iowans in our Third District. That voice needs to be as loud as the big cities, who have more representation in Washington.”

Axne says the task force will focus especially on helping rural areas navigate the challenges of rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This task force is going to help ensure that rural communities have a seat at the table in Congress,” said Axne. “It’s going to focus on a big range of issues that are currently facing rural areas, from broadband, to business opportunities, to health care, impacts of the changing climate, teacher shortages, doctor shortages, all of these things that we need to address to make sure that our rural communities have the opportunity to not just survive, but to thrive and grow.”

The task force is being formed by the New Democrat Coalition, a group that focuses on bridging the gap between both sides of the aisle by challenging partisan approaches to government.

“The New Democrat Coalition is about 95 of us forward-thinking Democrats who are committed to pro-economic growth, pro-innovation and fiscally-responsible policies,” said Axne. “I would call us a very pragmatic group of solutions-oriented legislators who know how to get the job done and ensure that good policy is written into law for the people that we serve.”

Axne adds one of the priorities of the group will be to highlight the value of rural communities to the country.