We are sad to see Matt Schmit move but Illinois is lucky to get him. I remember following him around Northern MN on a really cold day in 2013 and he worked on fodder to authorize the first Border to Border Broadband bill. He worked hard and now the (IL) State Journal Register reports on his hard work in Illinois…
The lack of adequate broadband width to properly power computers for homes, schools and businesses is a problem in some rural areas but also in some bigger cities, according to Matt Schmit, new director of the Illinois Office of Broadband in the state’s commerce department.
Schmit, 39, a native of Red Wing, Minnesota, who has served in his home state’s Senate, took his post with the state of Illinois in early September and is now living in Evanston. In his role, he’ll oversee the $420 million the state is spending on broadband as part of the capital plan passed by the General Assembly last spring and being put into effect by the administration of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“You tend to see metro areas with better service, but that’s not always the case,” Schmit said in an interview. “There are pockets of poor service in urban areas all over the country.”
Schmit worked to expand broadband reach in Minnesota while in the legislature. He had won a four-year term in 2012 as a rural Democrat, but lost a bid for re-election in 2016. He said he had worked in the legislature to “bring people together and invest in infrastructure.” He said he’s been “blessed to be able to continue the work,” in part as an independent consultant — helping communities get broadband access. He’s also been an academic researcher and university instructor.
What he’d like to see in six years, Schmit said, is “ubiquitous service to all homes, businesses and community anchor institutions around the state. And I think that’s achievable.”