RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — State leaders and members of the community gathered Tuesday for the North Carolina Rural Center’s 2023 Rural Summit.

Over 600 people are joined together at the Raleigh Convention Center to discuss issues rural communities are facing and solutions.

“It is a chance for all of the partners that we work with in rural communities all across the state to come together and to have some time together to look at the data, to look at the trends, to figure out some best practices…what’s working well, what’s not working well,” said Patrick Woodie, President and CEO of the NC Rural Center.

Some of the big topics discussed were internet access for those in rural communities, access to education and healthcare.

Many state leaders were also in attendance to talk about policies impacting rural communities.

“It’s really important that rural communities have their voice particularly in the public policy arena,” said Woodie.

Medicaid expansion was also a big topic.

Earlier this month legislative leaders announced an agreement to expand Medicaid.

Governor Roy Cooper spoke at the conference.

He says medicaid expansion will have a big impact on rural communities

“We have the opportunity to insure about 600,000 working people, to save rural hospitals, which many of them are beginning to close their doors. We have the opportunity to invest significantly in mental health and substance abuse disorder,” said Governor Cooper.