GOP Minnesota CD 1 Candidates on broadband funding and expansion

MinnPost asked all nine Republican candidates in MN’s 1st Congressional District to answer a series of questions about their views. Four responded:  Jennifer Carnahan, Bob “Again” Carney Jr., Brad Finstad and Jeremy Munson. Here’s what they had to say …

On Broadband, Carnahan said she supports block grants to states to fund public-private partnerships to build high-speed internet infrastructure. Finstad said investment in rural broadband should be focused on building reliable fiber networks and ensuring mapping of coverage to make sure new networks aren’t duplicative.

“Congress must ensure that all Americans have access to high-speed internet by removing regulations that make it difficult for major investments in rural areas while focusing on “last mile” infrastructure so all Americans have reliable Internet,” Finstad said.

Munson said the government shouldn’t spend billions in taxpayer dollars to support a program that the free market, in his view, already has a solution for. “We have great wireless broadband, like Starlink, which are available anywhere that meet the standards of high-speed internet,” Munson said, referring to the SpaceX service owned by Elon Musk that has drawn praise and criticism from broadband advocates in Minnesota. “The government’s interference will only cause increased internet prices and a chosen few companies to enable broadband in our rural communities.

“Government should not be picking winners and losers and charging taxpayers $12,000 per household to connect forty-year-old technology,” Munson said.

Jayesun Sherman running for State Representative in SW MN – broadband makes his shortlist

The Worthington Globe reports

Jayesun Sherman, a four-year member of the Windom City Council as Councilman-at-Large (Mayor Pro Tem), has announced his candidacy for the Minnesota State Representative seat being vacated by Rep. Rod Hamilton, who is retiring at the end of this year.

Broadband seems to make his top list of concerns…

“There are a host of needs in southwest Minnesota, which include childcare, broadband and infrastructure repair/replacement,” Sherman said. “In Windom alone, we are more than 250 childcare slots short. Statewide, the number is closer to 19,000. Government daycare centers may help to some degree, but we need much more. The mile-long red tape must be curtailed, and reasonable minds must prevail.”

Incumbent Carlton County Board of Commissioners regain seats – recognize importance of broadband

Duluth News Tribune reports on the Carlton County Board of Commissioners results…

The incumbents in Districts 1 and 5 retained their seats on the board. …

In District 1, incumbent Dick Brenner kept the seat he’s held for 28 years, while Gary Peterson was reelected to his District 5 seat.

Both recognize that broadband is a top priority…

The COVID-19 pandemic, the Carlton County Jail replacement project and broadband were among the big issues Brenner said the county will have to tackle in the future.

More details….

Peterson said the biggest issues currently facing Carlton County are the jail project, broadband access and road replacement.

“Obviously we’re concerned about broadband, and I think the big thing is to work with our federal and state people and all of us working together to see if we can come up with some solutions,” he said.

Rep Hamilton (MN House 22B) would invest in broadband

In a candidate highlight, the Redwood Falls Gazette notes that Ron Hamilton (Minnesota House 22B) plans to invest in broadband…

How as a state representative would you work to promote economic development?

When we invest in roads and bridges, broadband, and clean water, we can see the results. Just look to the expanded Highway 60 and the implementation of the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System for signs of new economic development resulting from those projects. For economic development to improve, businesses must have access to necessary infrastructure. But it’s also important to remember that state government needs to get out of the way and not regulate them out of business.

MN House 22B candidate Lynn Herrick lists broadband as a top priority

Montevideo American News posts candidate profiles, including one for Minnesota House 22B candidate: Lynn Herrick, who lists broadband as a top priority…

If you are elected, what would your top priority be for the 2021 state legislative session?

My two biggest priorities are broadband internet and accessible healthcare. This pandemic has demonstrated how much our region is dependent on better internet. After six years of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Program, there should be better internet for all of us. We need to better support this as it is essential for families, schools, governments, farms and businesses. The other priority is affordable insurance. Often times small businesses owners are offering insurance to their limited number of employees that have large deductibles or copays. This is what the business owners are doing to keep cost down for the business and employees, but often the insurances are not being used because of the high cost to the employees. That needs to be fixed especially in this time of COVID.

Rep Sundin promotes better broadband as a priority for MN State House 11A

WDIO has been reporting on many Minnesota Elections. Today they report on the race for Minnesota state House district 11A between DFL incumbent Mike Sundin and his republican challenger Jeff Dotseth. Sundin mentions broadband is a priority…

The district covers portions of St. Louis county, Carlton county, parts of Pine county and certain precincts in Sturgeon Lake. We heard from DFL incumbent Mike Sundin and his republican challenger Jeff Dotseth.

Incumbent Mike Sundin says that broadband concerns are going to be a topic of prioritization.

“As far as projects we need to address and issues we need to address moving forward, I think broadband is going to be a critical issue that we deal with,” says Sundin. “Certainly expansion of broadband throughout the state is very, very necessary. Not only for schools but for tele-medicine and any communication that’s critical for the elderly.”
Republican challenger Jeff Dotseth highlighted the importance of mining efforts in the region.

Rep Sandstede promotes a push for broadband expansion

Duluth News Tribune offers a candidate guide for Minnesota House District 6A, a race against Robert Farnsworth and Julie Sandstede. Sanstede mentions broadband as a priority…

Economic recovery for families and small businesses will be my priority. JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! I will work to accomplish this by collaborating with colleagues on both sides of the aisle for an expansion of grants and loans to businesses available through the state and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. I will push for an expansion of broadband and connectivity services in the region to draw in new businesses and provide opportunity for those working from home.

MN House 16B candidate Mindy Kimmel supports broadband

Montevideo American News features candidate profiles, including a feature on Mindy Kimmel, who is running for MN House 16B. She mentions broadband as a tool to promote economic development…

How as a state representative would you work to promote economic development?

Economic growth starts with supporting businesses and individuals in getting back to work. The smart approach includes ensuring rapid COVID testing is available as well as necessary protective equipment to keep workers safe. The Coronavirus pandemic highlighted many of the challenges that have been present for years. Lack of high speed broadband internet has prevented many students from distance learning and their parents from being able to work from home. Tying health insurance to employment resulted in those who were laid off losing the insurance for their families. I will work hard to ensure everyone has affordable healthcare regardless of employment status.

In race for District 6A in the Minnesota House of Representatives: Rep Sandstede promoted better broadband

Julie Sandstede and Rob Farnsworth are running for District 6A in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Sandstede is the incumbent. WDIO reports on a recent look at both candidates. Rep Sandstede mentions broadband as a priority…

She said she decided to run for re-election because the work is not done. She wants to build out broadband to attract telecommuters to move north.

“We saw just a tremendous investment with Cliffs when they purchased Arcelor, and I think that there’s an opportunity with the Essar site, the Nashwauk site, to do some work there to bring some jobs in,” she said. “But we really need to be diversifying, we need to be inviting people. And it isn’t going to be big companies all the time. It could be smaller businesses.”

Dakota County (MN) Board District 7 election: Mary Hamann-Roland supports broadband

The Twin Cities Pioneer Press outlines candidate profiles for a number of election, including Dakota County Board, where Mary Hamann-Roland is running against Chris Gerlach. Hamann-Roland mentioned broadband as a top priority; Gerlach responses were not available.

What would your top priorities be if elected?
Promote economical broadband development through collaborative public/private partnerships for reliability & speed: Tele-Education, Telemedicine, Telework, Tele-services. Prioritize people-focused transportation, including safe pedestrian and bicycle corridors. Champion parks, trails & open green space for well-being & quality of life.

Duluth News Tribune endorses Sen Rarick – broadband is a factor

Duluth News Tribune reports on the race between Rep. Jason Rarick and DFL challenger is Michelle Lee of Moose Lake for Minnesota Senate District 11…

A high priority for Rarick — “since the day I was elected” — has been expanding high-speed internet access into rural Minnesota. He helped alter a state grant process to prioritize unserved and underserved areas and is working now with the city of North Branch on a pilot project to create a wireless service the city could then lease out.

“These last nine months have proven just how needed (broadband) is,” said Rarick, who lives in Brook Park, Minnesota, about nine miles southwest of Hinckley. “If our rural areas are going to stay vibrant, that’s something, going into the future, that we absolutely need.”

Candidate/Rep Ecklund promotes broadband as a state priority for House District 3A.

WDIO reports

Republican Thomas Manninen — a law student is challenging Democratic incumbent Representative Rob Ecklund — a labor union leader and for his spot in House District 3A.

District 3A includes Cook, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis Counties. It is one of the largest districts in the state.

Ecklund said one of his main priorities heading into the election is advocating for broadband internet access.

“I view broadband as probably the next economic engine of Northeast Minnesota. We have everything it takes that people want to live here. Taxes are low, we have the waters, we have the lakes, we have the trails. We have everything in terms of assets, so I’m going to continue—if I’m fortunate enough to be re-elected—continue being an advocate for greater broadband internet in the state of Minnesota. It should be like rural electrification back in the 1950’s,” Ecklund said.

Manninen, on the other hand, said one of his main priorities heading into the election is ending Governor Walz’s shutdown.

Candidates Lee and Rarick in MN Senate District 11 both support better broadband

WDIO TV reports…

Democrat Michelle Lee is challenging Republican Senator Jason Rarick for his spot in Minnesota’s Senate District 11.

And their views of broadband…

One of the biggest issues the candidates say facing the district is access to broadband internet.

Rarick said he would like to see the state invest in bringing broadband internet to rural areas to improve learning and working from home.

“Even though we have a deficit as we’re coming back, I would really like to see the state make a commitment of about 50 million dollars a year that would be going into the grants that get internet access to our rural areas,” Rarick said.

Meanwhile, Lee said she would like to bring broadband internet to rural areas as well to improve education and create new business opportunities.

“I look at internet and the expansion of broadband as our moonshot. We can do this. We can join forces with the lawmakers that are out in Washington who are running on the same issue. We can join forces with Republicans and Independents here in Minnesota to make this happen,” Lee said.

Candidate debate for House District O3A: Rep Ecklund’s work in broadband is recognized

The Timber Jay reports on a debate between third-term Rep. Rob Ecklund, DFL- International Falls, and his challenger, Thomas Manninen in District O3A, including a strong mention of Ecklund’s work in broadband…

Ecklund, as he has done throughout his tenure in the Legislature, emphasized the importance of expanding broadband connectivity to rural parts of the state. “I believe that providing broadband is the true new economy of the north,” he said. “Every city in the state has an empty industrial park. We’re all fighting to get industry here, but if we bring true border-to-border broadband to every house in the district, just like rural electricity was in the 1950s, that’s where we’ll see the boom in jobs.”
Ecklund said that people are looking for alternatives to life in urban areas and that northern Minnesota is looking increasingly attractive, provided there is broadband capability.