Dear Editor: Are small towns prospering in this booming economy?

If our choice and quality of food and where we buy groceries is an indicator, I think not.

As of April 2019, Wisconsin ranked fifth in the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. People that have one to three jobs to make ends meet are counted once in the rate calculation. Wisconsin is working hard. Where are they buying food?

Around my small town, I see several dollar stores. These have become the new grocery store in low-income areas, in competition with Walmart. Walmart comes into communities and small groceries can't compete. Dollar stores come in. They fill a need, but are they the answer? My city lost a lot when the local independent groceries closed. We lost jobs, local investment and better food choices. Twenty-two billion dollars is sent to Dollar Tree's Virginia headquarters.

I see "Bent and Dent" stores selling mostly expired food.

Gas stations are the new grocery store? They are mainly processed foods rather than fruit or vegetables.

Unemployment is down, but as I look around, are we getting less for more? Are people working hard for less quality? For something as basic and important as what we eat, food choice is an indicator for prosperity.

Letting profits go to faraway headquarters, expensive foods in small packaging, less fruit and vegetables, lower wages and less employment are not good governance by our local leaders. We in small towns need forward thinking governance, not a convenience store mentality.

Mary Peterson-Smith

Richland Center

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