U of M rural-urban expert notes broadband funding as a statewide win

Tim Lindberg, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Morris, talks about the recent MN legislative session from through the lens of a urban-rural divide. He mentions broadband as a win for both sides…

In other cases, rural and urban lawmakers worked together to pass legislation that affects the whole state, such as funding for Local Government Aid (LGA) provided to cities throughout Minnesota, efforts to continue expanding broadband access in rural Minnesota and a fee imposed on opioid manufacturers that will pay for treatment services. The urban-rural divide, rather than just being a story of Republicans versus Democrats, is more nuanced.

Lindberg looks at the future of the geographic divide and political parties…

Given the continued growth of the Twin Cities metro and the stagnation or even decline of many rural counties, this means that redrawn districts will increasingly have urban or suburban areas within them, which will likely help Democrats. It will also likely further the ideological and partisan gap between those who represent rural areas and those who represent urban areas. This phenomenon is occurring in many Midwestern states, including those President Trump narrowly won in 2016.

The rural-urban divide will matter greatly in 2020, but it is not yet clear which party might benefit the most from it.

It will be interesting to see who benefits but it makes bipartisan support for broadband funding even more important – especially since the funding was one-time, not ongoing. It’s likely to come up again, until the state has ubiquitous broadband coverage and bipartisan support increases the odds.

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

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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