Rural city leaders remind Legislature to think rural – including better broadband

Over the weekend a letter to the Winona Daily News caught my eye. It came from mayor of Alexandria Sara Carlson is the and mayor of Owatonna Tom Kuntz. The main tenet of the letter was a reminder to Minnesota House Republicans to remember rural Minnesota…

When writing out thank-you cards following the election, Minnesota House Republicans had better include Greater Minnesota on their list.

There is no doubt that the Republicans owe their majority to rural Minnesota. Of the 11 seats they picked up last week, 10 are from outside the metro area. In fact, the majority of the House Republicans — who now hold a 72-62 majority — hail from Greater Minnesota districts.

One of the specific things they mentioned that rural areas needed was broadband…

Certainly, there are many issues that lend well to finding common ground, and House Republicans have an extraordinary opportunity to be the voice for Greater Minnesota during the next two years. There are several needs that are unique to Greater Minnesota, and we expect House Republicans to take the lead on these issues.

For example, the economic development needs of Greater Minnesota differ from those of the metro area. Minneapolis, St. Paul and most of the surrounding suburbs have reliable access to fast, high-quality broadband, while rural parts of the state lag far behind. The Legislature began to address this issue last session by devoting $20 million to funding broadband infrastructure. This is a good start, but more resources are needed, in both the underserved and unserved parts of the state, to bring our businesses and communities up to speed.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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