Obama visit shows new interest in rural voters, Democrat says

President Barack Obama’s visit to Warrensburg, Mo., next Wednesday reflects a growing focus on rural America, a leading Missouri Democrat said Friday.

Mike Sanders, chairman of the Missouri Democratic party and Jackson County executive, said the president will talk about the economy during an afternoon speech at the University of Central Missouri.

The campus is in the heavily Republican 4th congressional district. Sanders, though, said the presidential trip shows a renewed interest in the state’s rural voters.

“We can run and we can win in rural Missouri,” he said. “The White House, the president, certainly the party haven’t forgotten about rural Missouri.”

Precise details of the event were not available Friday. The White House said Obama will also talk about the economy in a Wednesday appearance in Illinois.

In addition to the economy, Obama may talk about student loans, which are still the subject of debate in Washington. The federal budget sequester may also come up — civilian defense employees at nearby Whiteman Air Force Base recently began required furloughs as part of the sequester.

Obama’s last visit to Missouri came in May 2012, when he spoke at Joplin High School.