Gretchen Piper running for MN Senate District 33 broadband on platform

SW News Media reports…

Gretchen Piper received the DFL endorsement in her campaign to represent Minnesota Senate District 33 in a recent vote.

“I was raised in a family that emphasizes service to the community,” stated Piper in a press release. “It’s with that same spirit that I will serve in the Minnesota Senate.”

A mother of two and a small-business owner, Piper plans to focus on excellence in education, access to affordable healthcare, and environmental protections. She is also committed to expanding broadband access to all parts of Minnesota, according to the release.

DFL Candidates in Le Sueur County talk about issues, including broadband

Le Sueur County News reports current views from two incumbents and two newcomers who have won the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party’s endorsement to represent Le Sueur County and surrounding areas in St. Paul. Here’s what they say about broadband…

Rep. Lippert: “I ran for office initially and I’m running for office again because I care about small areas. I grew up in a town of 700 people in northwest Iowa and I’ve been an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ for 17 years serving small churches and small towns in Wisconsin and most recently in Northfield. I want small communities to have what they need and rural areas to have what they need. I want us to be connected to the rest of the state and for the state to see itself connected to us in small towns. Because it doesn’t matter what we look like or where we’re from, we all need high quality affordable healthcare, we all need to stay home when we’re sick, we need good schools for our kids, we need high speed broadband. That’s at the heart of why I’m running.”

Rep. Lippert: “With COVID-19 it’s shown us the disparities that were already there before COVID-19, but they’re even more clear. The geographic disparities are very clear right now and we need to make sure that rural communities are not left out or left behind.The broadband issue is really key. We need to make sure that kids have high speed broadband so they can do homework and people can do their jobs. The farm economy is a major concern. We just passed bill on the house floor yesterday that I was the lead author on that paused farm foreclosures until December 1. Making sure that farmers are able to bridge this gap and withstand the farm is really important. Paid family leave is something that is really important too. We need to make sure that when people are sick they have economic security to stay home and they don’t feel that they have to go to work to get a paycheck and risk others getting sick too.”

Prom [Erina Prom, vice chair of the Le Sueur-Henderson School Board]: “There’s a quote by an educator that I’ve been coming back to over and over. Just the idea of ‘Everybody talks about returning to normal.’ Normal wasn’t working and we shouldn’t actually go back to what it used to be. Together, we actually have an opportunity make a new normal that works for everybody. The quote is from Dwayne Reed and he says ‘I hope that our new normal today exposes what was wrong with our old normal yesterday and sets us up for for a better normal tomorrow.’ COVID-19 has laid bare so many inequities amongst Minnesotans and we have the opportunity to really go in and do more than a band-aid fix. We can address inequities in healthcare access and prescription drug coverage, we can address the inequities of internet across the state of Minnesota with border-to-border broadband, we have the opportunity to invest in clean energy across the state of Minnesota while also ensuring that it’s an affordable option.”

Candidate Doria Drost running for District 16A supports broadband

West Central Tribune reports…

Doria Drost, of Lynd, who turns 21 on May 22, is the DFL-endorsed candidate to challenge the incumbent, according to a news release from her campaign. …

Drost said her campaign platform is focused on rural issues, making health care and housing more affordable, improving representation for the agricultural industry, and reforming Minnesota public education. She supports border-to-border broadband, locally owned small businesses, and efforts to improve equal and quality education, she stated in her announcement.

District 16A includes a portion of Lyon and all of Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties including the communities of Marshall, Granite Falls, the Upper Sioux Community, Canby, Dawson, and Madison.

MN DFL endorses Mindy Kimmel for MN House 16B, she endorses better broadband

The New Ulm Journal reports

Thursday, Mindy Kimmel, candidate for Minnesota House 16B was unanimously endorsed by the Minnesota DFL.

She recognizes the need for better broadband for all…

“COVID-19 has exposed issues we have in rural Minnesota,” she said.

Broadband access is a crucial need. Kimmel said with so many people working from home now the need for high speed internet access is a necessity. For many in rural Minnesota the connection is no longer sufficient.

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.

Senator Klobuchar supports rural broadband with Dig Once and better mapping

Faribault Daily News posts a letter from Senator Amy Klobuchar. She talks about the benefits of broadband, especially for rural areas based on recent visits from her staff to Bemidji, Walker, Wadena, Aitkin, Brainerd and Mora

I’ve heard from people across our state about how access to broadband is changing their lives and making their jobs easier. For example, farmers have told me they are excited about how advances in precision agriculture—like technology that can detect the level of moisture in the soil— can help them save money, increase yields, and protect the environment. And tractors can now use wireless broadband to send data directly back to the farm, allowing farmers to better manage their operations.

We have also seen advancements in telehealth technology that can help connect rural communities around the state to health care providers hundreds of miles away. Doctors can monitor the fetal heart rate and the weight and blood pressure of low-risk expectant moms remotely without having them drive to a clinic. Remote monitoring can also link specialists to patients and doctors in rural areas to provide real time consultations from the other side of the state.

And talks about plans to help make that happen…

I’ve always believed that when we invest in our infrastructure, including improved access to broadband, we invest in opportunity for every American. If we do this right, we can bridge the rural and urban divide that’s damaging our country and hurting our economy. That’s why I sponsored legislation to make broadband deployment easier by requiring coordination between states and federal agencies when highway projects are built so that broadband infrastructure is installed at the same time. In other words, agencies only “dig once” and lay the groundwork for broadband when building or expanding roads. A provision based on my bill was signed into law last year. “Dig once” policies help streamline broadband deployment and reduce the costs of building new broadband infrastructure while also helping expand wireless coverage in our rural areas.

As we work to bring high-speed internet to communities across the country, it’s critical that we have a clear and accurate understanding of where broadband is available and where it is not. While the Federal Communication Commission collects this information and provides maps that display broadband availability, these maps significantly overstate coverage in many rural areas. That’s why I introduced bipartisan legislation – the Broadband DATA Act — with Senators Wicker, Thune, and Peters, to collect more precise data so that broadband deployment funds will go where they are needed most. This bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee in July, and I am working to quickly get it signed into law.

Iron Range Rep Ecklund positive about future state broadband funding

The Mesabi Daily News reports on the impact of the elections on the Iron Range…

Three of the Iron Range districts in the Minnesota House will be in the majority come January after Democrats flipped 18 seats in the chamber for a seven-seat advantage.

The Senate remains Republican controlled by one vote, setting up the only split Legislature in the nation, alongside DFL Gov. Tim Walz.

Tuesday’s midterm election produced DFL winners in Dave Lislegard (House 6B), Julie Sandstede (House 6A) and Rob Ecklund (House 3A). Republican Sandy Layman won re-election in House 5B.

And some optimism on broadband funding in the legislature…

Ecklund said he believes the House changing will positively impact the 3A district.

“I think we’ll see some serious money going into rural broadband,” Ecklund told the Ely Echo. “It will be good for all of northeastern Minnesota and all of rural Minnesota. I look at broadband as a utility.”

Letter to editor support Grabowska in 23B

The Mankato Free Press ran a letter to the editor in support of Jim Grabowska, who is running for State Representative in 23B…

In 2018, broadband internet isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity for anyone who wants to compete in the market, stay connected to their social groups or get a quality education. The market forces are insufficient to fill in the gaps in our rural broadband network and for decades now rural Minnesotans have been left behind. If we want to keep our rural communities strong and flourishing, it’s crucial that we make comprehensive broadband a priority at the Legislature.

That’s why I’m voting for Jim Grabowska for the Minnesota House on Tuesday. Grabowska is lifelong educator who understands that the modern world moves at the speed of information. I know he will be an advocate to close the rural broadband gaps and to keep our towns, markets and families strong.

Candidate Tina Smith noted for work in broadband

DL-Online reports…

She [Tina Smith] has also been a strong supporter of bringing broadband to rural areas. As Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, she led the state’s well-regarded efforts to deploy broadband in rural communities, and the issue remains near and dear to her heart as senator.

The bipartisan Senate Farm Bill includes Smith’s Community Connect Grant Program to bring broadband to communities that need it.

There are 250,000 Minnesota households without adequate broadband. “It could mean millions of dollars for Minnesota, which would be a big help,” she said. “It’s a huge economic development issue.”

Since Minnesota’s broadband grant program works a lot better than the federal program, Smith said she has been talking to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on how to implement the Minnesota system at the federal level. “He’s been very interested,” she said.

The Senate Farm Bill in general “is another example of bipartisan work that would really benefit Minnesota agriculture,” she said.