Tom Vilsack, head of the Department of Agriculture, talks about the importance of reaching out to those who live in rural America. He speaks in the context of the Democratic Party, but the same applies in a bigger picture. Now more than ever, it is crucial to bridge the gap between the urban and the rural.

Here is what Vilsack exactly had to say:

“We need to speak more directly to our folks in rural America,” Vilsack recalled telling the vice president. “And we have to spend time there.”

“Democrats need to talk to rural voters,” Vilsack warned this summer. “They can’t write them off. They can’t ignore them. They actually have to spend a little time talking to them.”

A better message, Vilsack said, would be built around partnering with local communities to retool economies hurt by technological change or globalization. Such a partnership, he said, would emphasize the good of the country and “combine their challenges with the country’s challenges,” Vilsack said. “One part of the country is not stronger or weaker. Instead, we are all in this together.”

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