Nicollet County commissioners and department heads met to talk about mental health and agriculture with state and federal representatives – including Sen. Nick Frentz, DFL-North Mankato, Rep. Clark Johnson, DFL-North Mankato, Chuck Ackman, Southern Minnesota outreach director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Shawn Schloesser, field representative for Rep. Tim Walz, D-Mankato and Bree Maki, Sen. Tina Smith’s Southern Minnesota outreach coordinator.
Crow River Media covered the meeting, including the part where access to broadband became a solution to their issues…
All of the legislative representatives want to push for broadband internet service, even to the most rural parts of Minnesota.
“It’s one of the responsibilities of government to provide this infrastructure,” Johnson said.
Bree Maki, Sen. Tina Smith’s Southern Minnesota outreach coordinator, said that they’re looking for hard-wired connections, not wi-fi hotspots.
Federal government funding builds out smaller cities, to theBree Maki, Sen. Tina Smith’s Southern Minnesota outreach coordinator tune of $270 million in Minnesota in 2016, Ackman said.
In the past, he said, township supervisors wanted to talk about annexation. Now, they want to talk about broadband. For those in rural Minnesota, access to reliable broadband will allow use of drones and precision agriculture, which could limit the amount of chemicals used in agriculture.
“There’s an argument to be made that the best thing you can do to improve water quality in rural Minnesota is giving farmers internet,” Ackman said. “It’s going to be a game changer.”