On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Executive Director of NETWORK Advocates for Catholic Social Justice, Sister Simone Campbell held the fifteenth in a national series of Rural Roundtables in Wantage, New Jersey.  The event also notably marked the first Rural Roundtable held in the northeastern portion of the United States.   

Community leaders and community members of various backgrounds and expertise came together at the Sussex-Wantage Branch Library to discuss issues specific to rural life in the State of New Jersey.  Broadband internet access, small business, access to medical care, affordable medical care, adolescent mental health, immigration, agricultural issues, nutrition, poverty, food insecurity, transportation, education and special needs were included in the many topics discussed.  

Among those present were Robert Boyle of Planet Networks, Kristy Lavin of Lavin Therapy, Frances DelGado of Farmhouse Kitchen, Luis Arias of Migrant Ministry, Kendrya Close, Christine Parauda, and Lisa Kelly of Foodshed Alliance, James Hoffman of Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees, Newton High School STEM education, and advisor to the Newton Robotics Team, Laurie Licastro of Advance Housing, Esperanza Gonzalez of Zufall Health, Kevin Mitchell of 4H, Lusscroft Farm, and the Sussex County Fairgrounds, Christine Keller an IT Services/PC Support and Data Recovery Specialist, Mary Hyde of Front Porch Organics, Carlos Roldan of Catholic Charities Food Pantry, Kathy Talmadge of Catholic Family and Meals on Wheels, Ann Pompelio of The Law Office of Ann M. Pompelio, and the community members Joani Zaccro, George Wortche, and Dorothy Wortche to speak about access to medical care.

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In addition to all the tremendous participants that spoke of the aforementioned issues, representatives from the New York Commission on Human Rights, a representative from Congressman Josh Gottheimer’s Office and LD 24 Assemblyman Parker Space were also in attendance for the NETWORK Rural Roundtable discussion. 

For nearly 50 years, NETWORK has been advocating for the 100% in our nation.  They will take the information discussed during the January 15, 2020 Rural Roundtable and utilize it to work toward “mending the gaps” within federal policy through their lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. for those residing in rural communities.  For more information pertaining to NETWORK and its advocacy visit www.networklobby.org