SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM ANSWERS KEY QUESTIONS FOR RURAL AMERICANS

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM ANSWERS KEY QUESTIONS FOR RURAL AMERICANS ON RFD-TV’S RURAL TOWN HALL

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Rural America’s Most Important Network Celebrates Successful Continuation of New Series, Rural Town Hall

(NASHVILLE, TN — AUGUST 27, 2015) RFD-TV News continues the momentum of its new series, RURAL TOWN HALL, with presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham. The closed production taping was the third episode in the series and featured pre-selected questions solicited from key agricultural organizations, publications, and viewers. Audience members included constituents from agricultural non-profits and organizations such as AARP, the American Soybean Association, the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Rural Education Association, National Rural Health Association, American Agri-Women, the American Farm Bureau Federation, CropLife America, America's Renewable Future, FFA, 4-H, Mediacom, Agri-Pulse Communications, farmers, and ranchers. Throughout the one-hour forum Senator Graham outlined his vision for rural America related to questions concerning education, social security, federal regulation of farm animal welfare, food regulation, healthcare, renewable, alternative fuels, and fair trade.

"I remain impressed with the number of candidates that have stepped up to the plate and embrace the platform of RURAL TOWN HALL. It has continued to exceed my expectations. As the series builds momentum and the political landscape takes notice of this unique format, I see the impact on rural America and our viewers,” stated Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of Rural Media Group. “The first few episodes set a high bar. New candidates continue the momentum and deliver on our goal to devote an entire hour, 100% focused on rural and agricultural issues. Our national television and radio audience of active voters continue to love and support this series."

Highlights from the hour-long forum included select questions presented by attending media and agricultural organizations for Senator Graham.

Sarah Doese from CropLife America inquired about Senator Graham’s stance on food initiatives that promote health, without regulating what people eat, like soda bans in cities and school lunches. According to Graham, “We have the most affordable, safe, abundant food supply in the world. Let's keep it the way it is. Micromanaging from the federal level of what products we buy, and telling people what to eat, is going too far in my view."

Annette Sweeney from American Agri-Women inquired about Senator Graham’s stance on coal and other fossil fuel based energy. Senator Graham went on to state, “I believe that the climate is changing from CO2 emissions created by man. Look at all the cars, trucks, and all the stuff we burn.” But Graham went on to say “I'm not making this a religion. We have coal. Let's use it. Let's make it cleaner. We have natural gas. Let's find it. Let's export it where we can.” The South Carolina Senator says he would expand and enhance energy access. “I want to build more nuclear power plants. I want to use the coal we have, find the gas we own, develop the oil resources that we have in abundance. I'd build the pipeline from Canada because buying oil from Canada is like buying it from your cousin. We'll get most of our money back in trade. If we don't buy it from Canada, they're going to sell it to China. I believe in a strong, safe, sound environment, but not to the expense of a strong, safe, sound economy. Fossil fuels will be with us for a long time to come. When we own it, let's find it. Let's buy it from people who like us, not hate us."

Bob Kolling from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association asked Senator Graham about his support of rural utility services and maintaining affordable low-interest financing for the electric services around the country. Graham mentioned the 75th anniversary of rural co-ops, stating that “at the end of the day, it's allowed rural America affordable power to grow our economy. He says the proper role of government is to “lend money to people who pay it back. To develop rural America, that would never get developed based on an investor-owned model in the utility area and the telephone area.” He says, “the rural co-ops are as important today as they were in the past because rural America is going to get left behind if we don't nurture it.”

Joe Hendrick of the Farm Bureau Federation addressed Senator Graham concerning fair trade and how he would manage countries and leaders who erect trade obstacles.

In reference to the ongoing negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Senator Graham says the agreement “might be a good deal, but it might not.” He says “to be your president and to serve you well, I have to fight for your interests. We're giving away too much. People cheat us out of our market share, but they won't outwork us. If they outwork us, we've got nobody to blame but ourselves. But if they close their markets and we open ours, that's not trade, that's just being a chump."

On behalf of the South Carolina Farm Bureau in Graham’s home state, Anchor Mark Oppold asked about immigration and guest worker programs. Graham called for a robust, legal immigration system. “My goal as your president is to find workers who would come here temporarily, work to benefit themselves and their families while helping us too. He said he would reform the H-2A program and create a brand new immigration system based on merit. “I'd create a guest worker program more robust than what we have today, where people could come here for three years, work, make money, and go back home. To those who yell about immigration, you've obviously never run a farm. We need workers in the future, and I'll make sure the workers come here legally. And they can meet the IRS like the rest of us."

“AARP is pleased to team up with RFD-TV’s RURAL TOWN HALL to ensure every presidential candidate takes a stand on making social security financially sound for generations to come,” said AARP Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy A. LeaMond. “Our support of these important non-partisan discussions is a natural extension of the conversation we have every month on AARP Live, which also airs on RFD-TV, about issues including Social Security, caregiving, and fraud. We are pleased to continue working with RFD-TV to help rural residents get answers they need on issues that matter most to them, their families, and their communities.” 

Produced in conjunction with Mediacom Connections Channel, RURAL TOWN HALL is a series of one-hour prime-time specials focused on rural American issues in advance of the 2016 presidential election. All presidential candidates are expected to participate in this important forum over the coming weeks. Encore airings of RURAL TOWN HALL will air on RFD-TV and RURAL RADIO SiriusXM Channel 147. Viewers can also watch RURAL TOWN HALL online at the RFD-TV Country Club at www.rfdcc.com.

RURAL TOWN HALL is conducted in a town hall format in front of a live audience. The program will air in more than 50 million homes on RFD-TV. Check local listings for RFD-TV on Mediacom and other cable providers.

“Every four years, Iowa takes center stage in American politics,” said Ed Pardini, Mediacom’s Senior Vice President of Field Operations. “As Iowa’s leading broadband provider, this was a unique opportunity to partner with RFD-TV and address issues that are critically important to the people living in the small towns and cities that we serve.”

Nearly 60% of RFD-TV viewers vote in federal elections, ranking #2 for all cable nets (Source: 2014 doublebase GfK MRI). RFD-TV viewers have very high indexes for political engagement stating they have “Called Or Written A Politician” (162), “Identify As An Influencer” (151), “Friends Ask My Advice” (118), and “Attended A Political Speech/Great Deal Of Knowledge On The Topic” (116).  Nationally, 63% of all farmers and 81% of cattlemen watch RFD-TV on a weekly basis, yet 52% of RFD-TV’s total audience resides in A & B counties. The median age of the average viewer is 62 years old.

For information about RURAL TOWN HALL or to find listing information for the network in your area, visit RFDTV.com. Additional supporting press materials and photos can be downloaded from the online pressroom HERE.

The RURAL TOWN HALL series continues tonight with Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday, August 27 at 10 PM ET.

For more information, visit ruraltownhall.com, rfdtv.com, or ruralradio147.com.

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About Rural Media Group, Inc. (RMG):
Rural Media Group, Inc. is the world’s leading provider of multimedia content dedicated to the rural and Western lifestyle. Reconnecting city with country, RMG is the parent company of RFD-TV, RURAL RADIO, FamilyNet, RFD-TV The Magazine, and RFD-TV The Theatre. RMG networks are distributed to more than 100-million homes worldwide by DBS, telco and cable systems including DISH Network, DIRECTV®, Comcast, Verizon FiOS TV, AT&T U-Verse, Mediacom, Charter, Optimum, Brighthouse, Suddenlink, Time Warner, Cox, and more than 600 independent rural cable systems. Corporate headquarters and broadcast operations are in Nashville, Tennessee.

RFD-TV:
RFD-TV is the flagship network for RMG. Launched in December 2000, RFD-TV is the nation’s first 24-hour television network featuring programming focused on the agribusiness, equine and the rural lifestyle, along with traditional country music and entertainment. Top RFD-TV programming includes Market Day Report, Rural Evening News, Rural America Live, Western Sports Weekly, top rodeo events such as The American, and award-winning musical entertainment such as The Marty Stuart Show, Reno’s Old Time Music, The Molly B Polka Party, and Larry’s Country Diner.

RURAL RADIO:
Found exclusively on SiriusXM channel 147 (formerly channel 80), is the agribusiness and western lifestyle channel for the U.S. and Canada. RURAL RADIO's program schedule revolves around original productions focused on agriculture, equine, hunting, fishing, Western sports, and living the country life in small towns and ranches. Broadcast operations for the station are located in Nashville, Tennessee. The channel airs multiple exclusive series including Market Day Report, Rural Evening News, Western Sports Round Up, and reports from CME on Commodity Wrap. RURAL RADIO also carries live western sports including PBR bull-riding and PRCA rodeo events every weekend.

About Mediacom Communications:
Mediacom Communications Corporation is the eighth largest cable operator in the U.S. serving about 1.3 million customers in smaller markets primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. Mediacom offers a wide array of information, communications and entertainment services to households and businesses, including video, high-speed data, phone, and home security and automation. Through Mediacom Business, the company provides innovative broadband solutions to commercial and public sector customers of all sizes, and sells advertising and production services under the OnMedia brand. More information about Mediacom is available at mediacomcc.com.

About AARP:
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at aarp.org.?

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Michael LaBroad, Chief Political Officer, RFD-TV, o: (402) 779-8111, m: (417) 225-2225, e: mailto:michael@rfdtv.com
Patty O’Bryan, Director, Political Affairs, o: (402) 502-3508, m: (402) 618-6548, e: mailto:patty@rfdtv.com
Heather Huston, VP of Marketing, o: (615) 296-9332, m: (802) 345-5262, e: heather@rfdtvcom
Phyllis Peters, Mediacom Communications Director, o: (515) 246-2295, m: (515) 707-7148, e: ppeters@mediacomcc.com

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