OTIS —If Democrats don’t mend fences out here amid the sprawling fields and crowded cattle barns of Colorado’s Eastern Plains, their hopes for the 2016 presidential race and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s re-election could be swept away in the withering high prairie wind.

Democrats, who haven’t done well in rural regions for quite some time, were remarkably trounced in November.

So it’s no surprise Democrats and Republicans are attaching the term “rural Colorado” to a raft of bills in the current legislative session, even to bills that apply just as much to cities much larger than the 500 people of Otis.

The goal of such measures is to win backing for Democrats or solidify support for Republicans out here where residents remember a bitter 2013 legislative session more than any of the bills introduced this session — folks who say they have grown tired of Front Range politicians meddling with how they live their lives or conduct their business.

Politics is about personal philosophies as much as legislation, said Ken Davidson, a regular at Mom’s Kitchen Cafe in Otis who has lived nearly all his 69 years in Otis or in nearby Akron.

“It’s about our beliefs out here,” he said. “We believe in hard work, self-reliance, family values. And we live off this land out here, so we have to take care of it.”

House Democratic leader Crisanta Duran calls bills meant to assist rural Colorado “just good policy,” but strategists say it’s also smart politics.

“The Colorado Democrats are taking the correct steps to try to cut into the Republican advantage in these predominantly Republican areas, but Republicans are not just sitting on their hands. They’re also trying to speak to and mobilize that electorate,” said Kyle Saunders, an associate professor of political science at Colorado State University.

Among the bills Democrats have offered but not yet passed are broadband Internet for remote communities, $750,000 more for rural economic development, money and flexibility for rural schools, medical help by telephone and a $250 million plan to bolster agriculture and equine innovation at Denver’s National Western Complex.