Chloe Maxmin and Canyon Woodward at Harvard Book Store


Dirt Road Revival:
How to Rebuild Rural Politics
and Why Our Future Depends On It


May 11, 2022
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes State Senator CHLOE MAXMIN—the youngest woman to be elected to the State Senate in Maine—and her campaign manager CANYON WOODWARD for a discussion of their co-authored book Dirt Road Revival: How to Rebuild Rural Politics and Why Our Future Depends On It.

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About Dirt Road Revival

Through 2 successful elections in rural red districts that few thought could be won by a Democrat, twentysomethings Maine state senator Chloe Maxmin (D-District 13) and campaign manager Canyon Woodward saw how the Democratic Party has focused for too long on the interests of elite leaders and big donors, forcing the party to abandon the concerns of rural America—jeopardizing climate justice, racial equity, economic justice, and more. Dirt Road Revival looks at how we got here and lays out a road map for progressive campaigns in rural America to build an inclusive, robust, grassroots politics that fights for equity and justice across our country.

First, Maxmin and Woodward detail how rural America has been left behind. They explore rural healthcare, economic struggle, brain drain, aging communities, whiteness and racism, education access, broadband, Big Agriculture, and more. Drawing on their own experiences, they paint a picture of rural America today and pinpoint the strategic failures of Democrats that have caused the party to lose its rural foothold.

Next, they tell the story of their successful campaigns in the most rural county in the most rural state in the nation. In 2018, Maxmin became the only Democrat to ever win Maine House District 88 and then unseated the highest-ranking Republican in Maine —the Senate Minority Leader—in 2020, making her the youngest woman senator in Maine’s history.

Finally, Maxmin and Woodward distill their experiences into concrete lessons that can be applied to rural districts across the country to build power from the state and local levels on up. They lay out a new long-term vision for Democrats to rebuild trust and win campaigns in rural America by translating progressive values to a rural context, moving beyond the failed strategies of establishment consultants and utilizing grassroots-movement organizing strategies to effectively engage moderate rural voters.

Praise for Dirt Road Revival

“As someone who’s spent almost his whole life in rural America, both red and blue counties, I’m not sure I’ve read a more loving and realistic account of dirt road country. And as someone with a keen interest in American politics, I’m certain I’ve never read a more gripping (and practical) account of how to win elections than Dirt Road Revival. Not many political books make you both weep a little and then stand up and cheer—but this will!” —Bill McKibben, author of The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at His Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened

“In a story told with urgency and passion, Maxmin and Woodward offer a practical playbook for anyone who wants to get into politics to achieve a better future for those who have been left behind. They show us that rural communities are moral communities that respond more to personal stories and values over policies. Building trusting relationships is the key and this takes time and effort and demands humility and a willingness to learn, but the future of American politics depends on it. The Democratic Party—indeed, all America—must take heed, and Dirt Road Revival offers us a path forward. This is a wonderful, powerful book—and one of the most hopeful I’ve read about a possible future for American politics.” —Robert B. Reich, former US secretary of labor and author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few

Dirt Road Revival offers a unique and compelling blend of rigorous research, political expertise, and personal storytelling. Maxmin and Woodward open up about their own experiences and adventures, showing their passion for rural America and the people who sustain it, generation after generation. Dirt Road Revival builds bridges across fractious political divides, combining clear-eyed, practical reasoning with honest assessment and empathetic observation. This book will inspire readers to believe in the possibility of rural revival and motivate them to act now.” —Jennifer M. Silva, author of We’re Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America

Canyon Woodward
Canyon Woodward

Canyon Woodward

Canyon Woodward was born, raised, and homeschooled in the Appalachian Mountains of rural North Carolina and the North Cascades of Washington. He was the campaign manager for Chloe Maxmin’s successful 2018 and 2020 campaigns. He was previously Regional Field Director for Bernie Sanders 2016, Field Director for Jane Hipps for NC Senate, and Vice-Chair of the NC District 11 Democrats.

Photo Credit: Forest Woodward

Chloe Maxmin
Chloe Maxmin

Chloe Maxmin

Chloe Maxmin, hailing from rural Maine, is the youngest woman ever to serve in the Maine State Senate at 29 years old. She was elected in 2020 after unseating a 2-term Republican incumbent and (former) Senate Minority Leader. In 2018, she served in the Maine House of Representatives after becoming the first Democrat to win a rural conservative district. Follow her on Twitter (@chloemaxmin).

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