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.

Candidate Isenor in 21B supports better broadband

The Post Bulletin reports…

GOP state Rep. Steve Drazkowski is seeking his seventh two-year term representing District 21B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He is being challenged by Democrat Jonathan Isenor. District 21B covers portions of Goodhue, Dodge, Wabasha and Winona counties.

The article gives each candidate a chance to give their views. Isenor spefically brings up his plans for better broadband…

Isenor: On Day One, I will fight tooth and nail to make sure every home in Minnesota has cheap and reliable broadband. Nothing makes the rural urban divide more clear than broadband. Our infrastructure is being neglected statewide, but ignoring rural areas is hurting the entire economy of the state. Minnesotans across the state feel ignored. Saint Paul needs a gesture that it is listening and that it can still get things done.

Candidate Tom Wyatt-Yerka has big plans for broadband in 16A

The Granite Falls Advocate Tribune posts a Q&A profile of candidates. Tom Wyatt-Yerka (running for House) mentions broadband a lot in his profile…

  1. Budget: Minnesota’s economy is doing well. What would you do to see to it that the state’s economy continues on a course of growth?
    We need to enact policies that benefit the economies of rural Minnesota’s communities. This means more state services available in non-county seat communities, promoting more affordable and available day-care options to attract families and workers to Southwest Minnesota, and expanding broadband across our communities.
  1. Taxes: What is your position on both business and personal taxes? Do taxes need to be raised or cut? If cut, what spending cuts would you support to make up the difference?
    I would like to see at least a portion of the revenue generated from the online sales tax dedicated to expanding high-speed broadband internet infrastructure in rural Minnesota. In addition,I believe Minnesota would benefit from cutting the state income tax on Social Security which is causing many folks to leave Minnesota for states like South Dakota. By keeping more citizens in Minnesota we can expand the tax base.
  2. Spending: What would you do to ensure that Greater Minnesota isn’t left behind the Metro Area when it comes to state funding?
    As mentioned, we should dedicate a large portion of the state’s online sales tax to expanding broadband internet. …
  1. Infrastructure: What are your priorities for infrastructure in Greater Minnesota
    Nearly all of our infrastructure needs improvement, and we must dedicate the funds to do so. We must also work across the aisle with representatives from all across rural Minnesota to ensure equality between the metro and us. We must dedicate a greater portion of the gas tax to rural communities, and expand our broadband internet infrastructure. Additionally, enhancing our highway system with needed improvements like additional passing lanes will strengthen our regional economy and increase safety.