Local MN politics and broadband: what candidates say

I’ve been trying to save some of these articles until I could post a few. And my goal here isn’t to investigate the different stances on broadband but to catalog what has been mentioned in the various local publications.

If broadband is important to you – you should consider asking your candidates how they feel about broadband spending, speeds and uses! And if you see a story I missed, please feel free to sen it my way and I’ll add it to the list. Thx!

Senate District 6: Sen. David Tomassoni vs Skeeter Tomczak

The Duluth Tribune mentions broadband in their endorsement of Tomassoni

Continued investment in pushing broadband deeper into rural Minnesota is also supported by Tomassoni. The state already has been doing a pretty good job, he said.

“We’ve been told that in order to do it, we’re going to need well over a billion dollars, but … we did put $35 million in last year, and the year before $8 million, and the year before $20 million. So we’re getting some money involved in it, and much of the investment is coming up here. We actually got the first broadband grant up here in northern Minnesota,” Tomassoni said. “Rural broadband is akin to the electrifying of rural Minnesota or rural America. … I hear from people all the time in the townships how they would like to start businesses and how their kids are going to school and not able to get the services that they need” without broadband.

Senate District 21: Senator Matt Schmit  vs Mike Goggin

When asked about stimulating job growth, Senator Schmit brings up broadband:

For many parts of Greater Minnesota, broadband Internet access can reduce limitations of time and distance to allow for home-based businesses and teleworking to flourish, for distance learning, retraining, and job applications to be more fruitful, and for opportunities in telemedicine and precision agriculture to improve our health and environment.

Broadband comes up in a few article on the District 21 race – in the Red Wing Republican Eagle,

Senate District 21 and Minnesota House District 21A and 21B

An article on an election forum in the Kenyon Leader mentions broadband…

Bayley likened broadband to rural electrification – necessary to level the playing field and keep outlying areas of the state competitive. Schmit, who has focused considerable energy into broadband development in the state, said it is an important issue in day-to-day life. He cited distance learning, precision farming, tele-health and business development as being dependent upon broadband.

Drazkowski, Haley and Goggin downplayed the need for state intervention in broadband development, favoring private enterprise and federal funding. Drazkowski said the government keeps raising the bar for what is acceptable broadband service. Haley questioned the need for everyone to have high performing internet access, including schools.

House District 1B Candidate profile on Mike Moore…

I served on Crookston’s RiverView Hospital’s Board of Directors, and its Foundation for the maximum nine year term. I created “Computers for Our Community” in the Thief River Falls area and brought expanded broadband development to the District.

House District 9: Meg Litts vs John Poston Vye

In an article that profiles both candidates, Litts is quoted…

Passing tax and transportation bills within the first 30 days of the session is my priority so that the lives and livelihoods of our district are supported. I will work to adequately fund high speed broadband initiatives to ensure access and equity to information and resources as viable competitors in the global marketplace. I will listen to the voters of 9A to hear their concerns and get their input on proposed bills. Next, I will work collaboratively across the aisle in order to ensure that we are moving forward to get the job done in a timely manner.

House District 15: Rep Sondra Erickson vs Chilah Brown

The Mille Lacs County Times profiles Chilah Brown…

I will support proven economic development initiatives, including the Minnesota Investment Fund and the Job Creation Fund, to bring good-paying jobs to communities. I will support all efforts to fully fund broadband access to all corners of the state as businesses need access to high-speed internet to be able to compete.

They also profile Rep Erickson…

For industry to want to locate in any rural area of the state, the legislature needs to repeal cumbersome regulations that pose barriers to create a business; reduce or repeal the statewide business property tax; find ways for rural Minnesota to take better advantage of funding partnerships provided by DEED; and improve broadband access.

House District 22: Rep. Rod Hamilton vs Kirby Kruse

In an endorsement for Hamilton, the Daily Globe recognizes Kruse’s attention on broadband…

He [Kruse] sees his top priorities, if elected, as “better schools, better roads and bridges, tax reform and broadband,” according to the candidate questionnaire he completed for this newspaper.

Senate District 25: Senator Dave Senjum vs Dale Amorosia

In an article about the race, Amorosia is quoted…

“I think some of the critical issues are transportation funding, education, I think rural broadband, those are just some of the issues,” Amorosia says. “You could also make a case for social justice as well as the skyrocketing healthcare and childcare costs.”

Also found a profile of Amorosia in the Post Bulletin that mentions broadband.


House District 27A: Rep Peggy Bennett vs. Gary Schindler

The Post Bulletin outlined the race

While Bennett frequently repeats research from what we suspect are conservative sources rather than independent studies, she has shown a willingness to break with her party. She voted against business interests to increase regulation on children’s sleepwear, but more importantly she broke with Republicans to support increasing the threshold of service for expanding rural broadband services.

The Austin Daily Herald also notes Bennett’s support of broadband.

House District 27B: Rep Jeanne Poppe vs Dennis Schminke

In an article highlighting both candidates, Poppe mentioned support of broadband…

Other key investments including upgrading transportation, expanding broadband and making sure there is workforce housing. She added it is critical to make sure workers are paid a living wage and business owners can make a living.

House District 28B: Rep Greg Davids vs Thomas Trehus

An article outlines the race and mentions Trehus…

Trehus said his core campaign issues have remained focused on strengthening rural towns, schools and small farms through investments in education and infrastructure, including both traditional road and bridge funding and newer strategies, like expanded broadband.

House District 30B: Rep Eric Lucero running vs Margaret Fernandez

When asked about what they would do for small businesses, Ms Fernandez mentioned broadband a few times including…

We need to reprioritize spending to support small businesses as we look to reform healthcare, wages and employee benefits. There are two more issues that Minnesotans need to address. They are transportation and broadband. …

Broadband is another value we as Minnesotans need to decide if we value growth. Do we want our small businesses to compete on the state, national and global level? Do we value education for rural areas and want a future educated work force? Where I work we always say, “you have to invest in something for it to be successful.” If we as a state want to continue to be successful we have to invest in ourselves. We have a 2 billion dollar surplus. There is no reason we can’t invest in tomorrow.

House District 54B: Rep Denny McNamara vs Don Slaten

In a profile of candidate Don Slaten, the Hastings Star Gazette mentions broadband…

If we are fortunate enough to have a surplus, I would lower property taxes for farmers; our farmers are feeling the pinch due to falling commodity prices. I would pay down the debt so we save needless interest payments. I would support educational funding for smaller class sizes and pre-K. I would support greater funding for broadband for out-state Minnesota, which is an issue in parts of our district.

House District 58B: Rep Pat Garofalo vs Vagts

The Northfield news outlines info on both candidates; It an interview with Marla Vagts, she mentions broadband…

My top priority is to get broadband to the entire district. This is interfering in education, preventing commerce, and stifling any entrepreneurial opportunities in a large part of our district. Internet has become like electricity once was, it’s a need and we’re leaving our rural people behind by not giving them the same options as people in town.





This entry was posted in Elections, MN 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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