Sara Blackhurst oped - would rural CO make the endangered species list?

Would Rural Colorado Make the Endangered Species List?

By definition, an endangered species is: A plant or animal species existing in such small numbers that it is in danger of becoming extinct, especially such a species placed in jeopardy as a result of human activity; or a group threatened with extinction or destruction.

We hear a lot of talk about the struggles of rural Colorado and rural America. Health care, infrastructure, education — issues that can make or break the sustainability of a population. It’s safe to say rural Colorado is an endangered species. The “why we are talking about it” is for another time. Right now, I am far more interested in how we help.

On the surface, things look rosy for Colorado. A recent U.S. News and McKinsey report ranks Colorado’s economy as the best in the nation. The report also ranks our state as the 10th best for overall quality of life.

For those of us in rural Colorado, however, we may find this a little more than surprising. Action 22, an organization representing 22 counties in Southern Colorado, includes the nation’s 49th poorest county. And nine of the 10 poorest counties in Colorado are Action 22 counties.

So, what can we do and what would make a difference?

This piece originally appeared in the Pueblo Chieftain. Click here to read the entire op-ed.

Sara Blackhurst

President and CEO, Action 22