Rep Ecklund to announces re-election highlighting broadband work

Mesabi Daily News reports…

State Rep. Rob Ecklund, DFL-International Falls, announced Tuesday that he is seeking re-election to the Minnesota House of Representatives in November, and will again seek the DFL party endorsement. Ecklund is currently serving his third term representing District 3A in the House, which includes all or part of Cook, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis counties.

He mentions his work in broadband…

In Greater Minnesota, Ecklund has worked to boost investments in high-speed broadband infrastructure.

“Families, students and businesses all depend on this 21st-century technology, and in 2019, he successfully championed legislation to deliver $40 million in funding toward the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program over two years,” according to the press release. “He is also a strong advocate for northern Minnesota’s heritage including outdoor recreation opportunities like game and fish habitat, parks and trails, and economic opportunities through mining, forestry, tourism and emerging industries.

Candidate Lewis reaches to rural voters through broadband

The Brainerd Dispatchv reports on Jason Lewis’ visit to the area…

While Lewis has spent much of his life in the Woodbury suburb of the Twin Cities metro, or out of state in Colorado and Iowa, he said it’s a matter of shared experience to reach rural Minnesotans. This shared experience is one he’s acquired, he said, through years spent in small towns, or vacationing along the Whitefish Chain, or listening to rural concerns about estate taxes, broadband, mining or job development.

Congressman Stauber puts broadband on his reelection plan

Brainerd Dispatch reports…

Congressman Pete Stauber, R-Duluth, met with supporters Monday, Jan. 20, in Brainerd to announce his bid for reelection in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District — a campaign that, if successful, would mark the first time a Republican has been able to win a second term in the district in 76 years.

He mentions continued support for broadband…

In addition, Stauber noted he intends to continue efforts to improve roads and bridges, small business opportunities and rural broadband, while defending senior-oriented programs like Medicaid and Social Security, as well as other rural-centric initiatives as long as he’s in office.

Candidate Bloomberg visits Wells MN – mentions investing in broadband

Duluth News Tribune reports…

Former New York City mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg ventured into rural Minnesota on a campaign stop to discuss the issues pressing rural America’s farmers.

Apparently broadband was one hot topic…

According to a Tuesday news release from Bloomberg’s campaign, Wells was one of three campaign stops Bloomberg made on Wednesday, in addition to Chicago and Akron, Ohio. He aimed to tout his economic proposal, which he says will “bring more opportunities to people and places that have been shortchanged by Donald Trump,” both rural and urban, by increasing the minimum wage, prioritizing training and education and investing in rural broadband.

Michelle Lee running to represent District 11 – broadband is one reason

Local campaigns are starting and it’s nice to see broadband make the short list of topics important enough to be mentioned at the onset. Pine City Pioneer reports…

Michelle Lee has formally announced her campaign to represent  District 11 in the Minnesota  Senate. The Moose Lake resident will seek the DFL endorsement at the district convention in March.

Lee told supporters and attendees of the HD-11A Homegrown Harvest Dinner Fundraiser as long as the Minnesota Senate is controlled by Republicans, access to quality healthcare, first class education and  training of our future workforce, the expansion of broadband and attention to the critical needs of our infrastructure in Greater Minnesota are in jeopardy.

Democratic candidates’ take on broadband plan – and IIA’s view to 5G

Next Gov recently ran a letter to the editor from Bruce Mehlman, founding co-chairman of Internet Innovation Alliance. It gives a quick synopsis on how Democtractic candidates are leaning in regards to broadband…

In a very crowded Democratic primary—October’s presidential primary debate was the largest in American history—the issue of broadband access is popping up with great (and welcome) frequency. With this month’s debate fast-approaching on Nov. 20, candidates are continuing to try to distinguish themselves and, as often happens in campaigns, there’s a bidding war going on.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, has proposed spending $20 billion on broadband access; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren quadruples that with a proposal for $85 billion. Not to be outdone, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to spend $150 billion on broadband deployment (as former Sen. Everett Dirksen once said, “A billion here, a billion there; pretty soon you’re talking about real money”).  Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants to connect every house to the internet by 2022 as part of a $1 trillion plan to improve the country’s infrastructure. …

Mayor Pete Buttigieg favors a “public option” for broadband in areas “[w]here companies have not provided coverage or where it is unaffordable”, with a total cost of about $80 billion.

Mehlman’s not very positive of most of their plans in short because he seems to prefer a provider-focused plan and his focus seems to be on 5G…

If the private sector does not have the right incentives to invest in broadband deployments, how can it invest the tens, even hundreds, of billions each year that will be necessary for the full deployment of 5G wireless technology? Without those investments, we cannot make the next leaps in connectivity and security—things like truly connected cars, the internet of things, and other innovations that will improve our daily lives even more radically than in the past decade. If the dollars do not come from the private sector, we can expect presidential candidates in 2024 or 2028 to call for trillions in government investments, while bemoaning our national failure to keep up with Chinese 5G investments that are happening today.

Worse, some of the Democratic candidates’ proposals would permit this spending only for certain types of groups—not private-sector network operators who have delivered broadband across the country for the past 20 years … but instead only for local governments, nonprofits, and cooperative organizations. Some candidates explicitly favor government-funded networks to the exclusion of private players.

He has a solution…

Fortunately, there is a better way: Encourage private sector investments and then target federal funding to areas that, principally for reasons of geography, are difficult to serve. There is no need to reinvent the wheel—or to shift broadband to government-owned-and-operated networks—for everyone to enjoy fast broadband service across the country.

But the focus on 5G gives me pause to question how highly he has prioritized rural America in his plan.

Democratic candidate Holmstrom-Sabo for MN’s 8th District promotes broadband

Bemidji Pioneer reports…

For Marjorie “Marje” Holmstrom-Sabo, who announced her candidacy for the Demoratic nomination in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District Monday, Oct. 7, politics had long been a passion — though not a tangible goal, at least not for years down the road.

Broadband came up as a hot topic…

She also pointed to pushing affordable and accessible health care in the face of insurance consolidation, hospital closures and skyrocketing prescription costs. Rural broadband and the interconnected issue of boosting rural education serve as a third main pillar, she said.