[U.S. Rep. Angie] Craig is one of the eight members who was appointed this summer to the Select Committee on Economic Disparity & Fairness in Growth. She said her job on the committee is to focus on rural communities, and she believes the best way to do that is to great good job opportunities for rural communities and make long-term investment in rural infrastructure.
Broadband was a hot topic…
“We’ll look at the issues fresh in today’s day and context,” said Craig. “A lack of broadband in some areas, as well as some of the consolidation that we’ve seen in farming.”
Craig said the committee will be able to put forward policy solutions that “hopefully will help lead to greater economic growth in rural America”. Rural broadband infrastructure is high on her list of priorities, and she said she’s “optimistic” that Congress is going to pass an infrastructure bill.
“There’s $65 billion in broadband investment in the Senate version of the bill, but personally I think it needs to be closer to 80 billion, if we’re going to get 99% of the country all the way to high speed internet,” said Craig. “But there’s going to be a massive investment — certainly the largest investment that I have seen in my lifetime.”
Anecdotally, Craig said rural areas are starting to hear more about the real estate industry shifting to their communities, where plenty of land can be developed.
“They’re saying that people are looking to get a little further out from cities, after the public health crisis of the pandemic has caused a lot of people to reevaluate their lives,” she said. “You could conceive a day where if you have broadband in every community, and you have an e-commerce business, you could live anywhere.”