Lori Ann Clark running for Minnesota House District 21A – broadband on her shortlist

Few things make me more nerdily happy than when someone fits broadband into their announcement for running for office in Minnesota. The Red Wing Eagle reports…

Lori Ann Clark has announced her candidacy for Minnesota House District 21A. The Cannon Falls business owner will seek the endorsement of the DFL Party at its District 21 convention March 10.

And her take on broadband?

“Communities compete based on the full range of amenities and services we provide. Everything from our roads, housing, childcare, and broadband to our cultural and natural assets affect people’s desire to live, work and play here,” Clark said. “We can and need to do better for those of us who have chosen to live here now and to attract those who will help us succeed in the future.”

Broadband makes the shortlist of topics Sen Klobuchar discusses in Jackson County

Jackson County Pilot reports on a recent visit Senator Klobuchar made to the area…

Minnesota’s senior senator stopped by the industrial park headquarters of New Fashion Pork Friday evening to talk employment, immigration, transportation, trade, rural broadband connectivity and the farm bill, among other topics. Klobuchar said she was impressed with New Fashion Pork and the Jackson County Food 4 Kids program the company spearheaded a few years ago, urged those gathered to continue lobbying lawmakers for sensible immigration law and pledged to look into impending changes to overland transportation regulations.

And more specifically on broadband..

David Preisler, executive director of the Minnesota Pork Producers and Association and Minnesota Pork Board, talked trade and the farm bill with Klobuchar, while Jackson City Council member Donnie Schoenrock, president of the Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services Board of Directors, briefed the senator on local issues surrounding rural Internet connectivity.

“It’s the digital divide,” Klobuchar said, adding the solution may lie in certain changes necessary at the Federal Communications Commission level.

Klobuchar said she appreciated hearing concerns from those gathered and pledged to continue working on their behalf.

St Paul Mayoral hopeful mentions need for broadband

I like to pick up on the politicians who mention broadband as a topic worth supporting. In am MPR debate for candidates for St Paul Mayor, Tom Goldstein mentioned broadband…

DFLer Tom Goldstein addressed his electability. He’s run repeatedly for office, and while he earned a term on the school board, he lost a re-election bid. Goldstein said it wasn’t about just him, but that he had a clear plan for the city.

“It’s a very thoughtful plan, about how we do equity. About the need for broadband, the need for job creation,” he said. “I’m the only person here who has actually run a business and managed people.”

Erin Murphy boosts broadband for rural areas

Crookston Times reports on Gubernatorial hopeful Erin Murphy…

Former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives Erin Murphy is in the run for the governor seat in 2018 and hopes to build the state’s future by focusing on healthcare, pre-kindergarten education, broadband and transportation. Murphy, a registered nurse and DFL’er, paid the Times a visit to talk about her candidacy and keen interest in helping greater Minnesota thrive.

And her commitment to rural areas.

JB: What are you hoping to do for rural Minnesota, if elected?

EM: We need to remember when you get elected to spend time with people in the whole state and not just the metro area. The rural area is not the model and the metro area is not the model for the entire state. We will stand up and fight for our people in our communities wherever they are. We’d like to finish our commitment for broadband in all areas of the state; that’s important for families, healthcare and commerce. We also want to make a real commitment to transportation, healthcare and water quality. Those are the things we share and hold deeply as values. Whether they’re farmers, miners or developers, we all have a stake in it. That’s how I did my work as a nurse and I’ll do the very same thing as governor.

First Congressional District candidate Vicki Jensen promotes better broadband

The New Ulm Journal reports that First Congressional District candidate Vicki Jensen talked up the need for better broadband on a recent visit to New Ulm and surrounding area…

Jensen also spoke on the need for rural economic development, which includes infrastructure improvements like broadband.

“Broadband is the best economic tool we can have for our rural economy,” she said. “We did it with electric and we can do it with broadband. We just need the will to do it.”

Minnesota’s Mark Erickson on promoting Community Broadband in a Trump-Era

CLIC (Coalition for Local Internet Choice) ran an open letter from RS Fiber’s Mark Erickson giving hope to community network proponents in a President Trump world….

In very rural Sibley county, in Minnesota, where I live, the vote was nearly 3 to 1 in favor of Donald Trump.

Our incumbent Republicans were re-elected with ease.

Yet in this very conservative county, 10 city councils and 17 of 21 rural townships have come together to support putting their tax dollars at risk to build a fiber optic network to everyone in those communities and to all area farms. (By means of an update, the four townships that voted not to participate in the project have indicated they might want back into the project.)

I don’t even find it ironic that in the middle of this Trump heartland the overwhelming majority of voters believe broadband is so important that it transcends local, state and national politics.

Why? Because they get it. They understand they will need bigger and better broadband to survive and grow.

And this isn’t the situation only in Minnesota…

In Maine, as in Minnesota, when people realized providers are unable to make the necessary investments in their communities, they began to advocate for solutions that involve local government.

Like rural voters across the nation, they understand the only real way to ensure timely (in their lifetime) access to ultra high speed broadband networks is to take the initiative and make something happen.

I am convinced that sentiment is common throughout under- and unserved rural America.

Let’s take the opportunity this sea change in national leadership presents and raise our voices even louder about the need for effective solutions to what I believe is a growing rural broadband crisis.

Candidates on broadband in MN Senate district 12

Running for Senate District 12 the incumbent, Senator Westrom had this to say about broadband…

Making sure rural broadband is available across the state is another priority of his if re-elected.

“It is the electricity of today where the state can be a partner in the area where you don’t have the business space,” he explained. “Farmers and small business owners can be anywhere when they transact business over the web and that’s a great job engine and economic development tool, frankly for rural Minnesota to have strong broadband,” Westrom said.

His competition, Russ Hinrichs says this…

Improving the rural broadband infrastructure would also benefit farmers and resident in greater Minnesota.