No matter who wins the election next November, Le Sueur County will have a new representative in Congress.
Following statewide redistricting, Le Sueur County was moved into CD2, currently represented by DFL Rep. Angie Craig, of Prior Lake. Before facing off against challenger and Marine veteran Tyler Kistner, R-Prior Lake, the incumbent dropped in on the latest addition to her district to speak with local farmers and county officials about agriculture issues and broadband expansion.
Here’s her view on broadband…
After stopping in Kilkenny for the Halfway to St. Paddy’s Day festival, Craig journeyed to Montgomery, where she hosted a roundtable on broadband with Le Sueur County Administrator Joe Martin, County Broadband Initiative Coordinator Barbara Droher-Kline, Tri-City United Schools IT Administrator Carl Menk and Lanesburgh Township Clerk Liz Krocak.
In 2021, with the use of CARES Act dollars, Le Sueur County funded the development of seven towers, including two in Waterville, one in Le Center, Tyrone Township, Cleveland, Montgomery, Cordova and Kasota.
Le Sueur County financed the towers alongside other projects, including WiFi hotspots at the Le Sueur County Fairgrounds, Ney Nature Center, Gorman and Volney Park and Lexington Township Hall as well as a fiber optic network by MetroNet between Kasota and Ottawa, Lake Volney and Gorman Lake, Waterville and Le Center.
Though the county’s municipalities are well served by high-speed internet, Martin told the CD2 Congresswoman Le Sueur County will need more than towers to serve the needs of rural residents.
“It runs well, but in the long-term we need our rural areas to run fiber to the door and right now it’s not happening because the return on investment isn’t there for the providers to do it,” said Martin. “The bottom line is they’re not going to do it to lose money.”
In total, the county administrator estimated it would require $12 million in outside dollars and a 25% match from the county to reach every household with fiber.
Craig was receptive to the idea and pointed toward her work securing $3.2 million in broadband investment for Goodhue County.
“That’s been my biggest contribution to Goodhue County is getting federal dollars for broadband over the past few years,” said Craig. “That would be something I would be all over in Le Sueur County as well.”
The Congresswoman labeled herself a strong supporter of financing community projects within her district and promised the county representatives she will be making similar visits to Le Sueur County if re-elected.
“I’m not afraid to ask for $12 million, I know they’re going to cut it in the final proposal, but I’m not afraid to ask for what I want,” said Craig. “I want to represent this community with all my heart in 2023.”