She [Tina Smith] has also been a strong supporter of bringing broadband to rural areas. As Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, she led the state’s well-regarded efforts to deploy broadband in rural communities, and the issue remains near and dear to her heart as senator.
The bipartisan Senate Farm Bill includes Smith’s Community Connect Grant Program to bring broadband to communities that need it.
There are 250,000 Minnesota households without adequate broadband. “It could mean millions of dollars for Minnesota, which would be a big help,” she said. “It’s a huge economic development issue.”
Since Minnesota’s broadband grant program works a lot better than the federal program, Smith said she has been talking to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on how to implement the Minnesota system at the federal level. “He’s been very interested,” she said.
The Senate Farm Bill in general “is another example of bipartisan work that would really benefit Minnesota agriculture,” she said.