Rural Power Lab Program

About Our Rural Power Lab Program

Rural Power Labs, formed in fall 2021, is a rurally-focused experimental support program incubated at Movement Labs that partners with State and Local Democratic Parties to provide an additional layer of resources, training, and support for rural local Democratic Parties. In 2021, we successfully piloted our program in KS, MT, VA, and WI with 70+ rural Democratic county parties and were well received and rated by county chairs and members. 

We envision helping rural Democrats come out of isolation and connect with other rural Democrats locally and nationally to organize together to make rural Democrats more visible and brought together. We will localize national issues to make it real what national Democrats are doing to deliver. Our goal is to improve the Democratic brand in rural areas.

A barn in the middle of a field with a US flag on the side.

Rural Power Lab Memo for Local Parties

Rural Power Labs (RPL) is launching our 2nd cohort! You are eligible to apply if you are a rural county or town Democratic party, committee, or progressively-aligned organization. Additionally, in our partner states, even if you do not apply for our full support program, unless you opt-out, we may still plan to recruit new volunteers for your party. You will have received an email from your state party and us about this. 

We are currently seeking renewing and new applicants – rural County & Town Democratic Parties – to partner with us through the November 2022 election with a tentative agreement to continue working together through 2024. 

We are not a replacement for your State Party, or meant to replace any existing programs. Our program is an additional layer of support. Since our founding last year, we have built an advisory board of on-the-ground rural county party chairs, rural experts, and rural partners, and we strive to work together to zig where others zag and push for more attention and resources to all rural organizing work.

RSVP for our upcoming Open Houses about the program. 

We are launching states on a rolling basis in March and April. For states that have launched, find their application and opt out materials below. For upcoming states, when they are launched materials will be posted here.

Kansas – Deadline 4/10/22 (extended from 3/31)

Kansas Rural Power Lab Application
Kansas Rural Power Lab Opt-Out Form
Kansas Local Party Memo

Montana – Deadline 4/10/22 (extended from 3/31)

Montana Application
Montana Opt-Out Form
Montana Local Party Memo

Virginia – Deadline 4/10/22 (extended from 3/31)

Virginia Application
Virginia Opt-Out Form
Virginia Local Party Memo

Michigan – Deadline 4/10/22

Michigan Application
Michigan Opt-Out Form
Michigan Local Party Memo

Arizona – Deadline 4/10/22

Arizona Application
Arizona Opt-Out Form
Arizona Local Party Memo

Wisconsin – Launching 4/6, Deadline 4/27/22

Wisconsin Application
Wisconsin Opt-Out Form
Wisconsin Local Party Memo

Questions about the program application? Email team@ruralpowerlab.org

Program Design Committee Members

Organizational affiliations provided for identification purposes only. 

  • Co-Chair, Secky Fascione, Democracy Alliance
  • Program Director, Lauren Gepford, former ED, MO Democratic Party
  • Project Manager, Fleming Beaver
  • Advisor, George Goehl, People’s Action

Party Leadership

  • Ken Martin – President, Association of State Democratic Committees; Chair, MN Democratic Party
  • Brad Martin – President, Association of State Democratic Executive Directors; ED, OR Democratic Party
  • Lavora Barnes – Chair, MI Democratic Party
  • Ben Wikler – Chair, WI Democratic Party
  • Tina Podlodowski – Chair, WA Democratic Party
  • Vicki Hiatt – Chair, KS Democratic Party
  • Tom Sullivan – former County Party Chair, Author
  • Mary Gonzalez – Rural TX State Rep, Chair of TX Mexican American Caucus
  • Kelly Dietrich & Jocelyn Hunt – National Democratic Training Committee
  • Erik Richardson – Chair, MO Democratic Party Rural Caucus
  • Nate Timm – Chair, WI Democratic Party Rural Caucus
  • Ben Meers – ED, KS Democratic Party
  • Tara Logan – Secretary, MO Democratic Party Rural Caucus; former Rural Director, MO Democratic Party
  • Bill Crawford – Multi-County Coordinator, WI Rural Counties
  • Ethan Smith – Blue Bench Project Coordinator, MT Democratic Party
  • Simon Hargus – Vice Chair, Wood County Democratic Committee (WV)
  • Rachel Byrne – Co-Chair, Monongalia County Democratic Party (WV)
  • Mary Darling – Dir. of Party Affairs, AZ Dem Party

Progressive & Rural Leadership

  • Sarah Jaynes – Rural Democracy Initiative
  • Wanda Mosely – Field Director, Black Voters Matter
  • Isaac Wright – Rural Voter Institute
  • Stephen Smith & Katey Laurer – West Virginia Can’t Wait
  • Heather Booth & Mike Lux – Democracy Partners
  • Delinda Bryant – Albany, GA Voters Coalition
  • Meredith Dean – Appalchian Women of Action (VA)
  • Judy Hertz – Former ED, Midwest Academy
  • Dreama Caldwell & Brigid Flaherty – EDs, Down Home NC
  • Jesse Ferguson – Consultant & Democratic Strategist

Experimental and Program Design

  • Pete Backof – Camden Strategy
  • Aaron Strauss – OpenLabs, former Analyst Institute Executive Director