MADISON — When UW-Madison political science professor Kathy Cramer hit the road to study the divide between rural and urban residents in communities throughout Wisconsin, she didn’t really know what to expect. What she found was a deep resentment among rural people toward those in the state’s largest cities.

“It’s a low-simmering resentment that’s been there a long time,” Cramer told attendees of the Wisconsin Agricultural Outlook Forum held Jan. 25 at UW-Madison. Many rural residents view the state as two parts — Madison/​Milwaukee and “the rest of us” — and say that decisions being made on their behalf on the state level don’t speak for them. They also feel that many of their urban counterparts don’t respect them or understand their way of life and unique challenges.

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