The ideas and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this article. The author of this letter has paid for his placement.

In rural North Dakota, volunteer leaders serve on school boards, water boards, city councils, church committees, civic associations, rodeo committees, park boards, and co-op boards. They work in community gardens, fight fires, teach Sunday school, prepare meals for their neighbors and keep our cemeteries in pristine condition. If you’re from my town, you know these amazing people, and you’re probably one of them.

I had the opportunity to join a group of these leaders for a roundtable with Congressman Armstrong in August. Farmers, business owners and school leaders, among others, shared their particular concerns about the future of our rural community. Our congressman repeatedly interrupted people and proved unable to listen. Instead of using the roundtable to uncover new perspectives or learn from his constituents, he pushed polarizing national talking points. In the room of the people on whom my city depends, this guy was disconnected.

Think of the neighbors with whom you like to serve. Consider the leadership character it takes to complete meaningful projects. And stop sending non-leaders to represent us in Washington. Send Cara Mund and Katrina Christiansen who actively listen, willingly collaborate and truly lead those of us who want a better future for our rural communities.