Duluth New Tribune endorses Rep Ecklund for his broadband work

Duluth New Tribune reports…

In September, Rep. Rob Ecklund of International Falls was able to meet virtually with the News Tribune Editorial Board — without having to leave his house. Even just a year ago, he said, he would have had to go “in town” for a reliable-enough connection.

Progress certainly is being made on Minnesota’s multiyear mission of achieving true border-to-border broadband availability, even in rural areas. And during his seven years in the Legislature, Ecklund certainly has been one of the cause’s leading champions.

Eligible voters in the Nov. 8 election can reelect Ecklund to a fifth term to continue his successful work — on broadband and other important issues — and his effective representation of massive Minnesota House District 3A, which runs up the North Shore from just outside Two Harbors and then covers the Canadian border from Grand Portage to west of Northome.

“We still have a ways to go, but I think (broadband) is important, because, as the pandemic showed, many people can work from home,” Ecklund said in the interview. “It’s a new facet of our economy, and I think going on into the future, we’re going to see more and more at-home work and less and less people working in big office buildings in cities. Minnesota can’t be left behind.”

Ecklund’s largely rural district stands to benefit greatly from better broadband. But it’s far from the only matter where he has made a mark for those back home.

MN Elections Broadband Notes: House District 41B candidate Tina Folch connected to broadband

Through YahooNews, we can see the Pioneer Press coverages of House District 41B candidates and Tina Folch’s connection to broadband…

House District 41B

Tina Folch

  • Age: 51

  • Party: DFL

  • City: Hastings

  • What qualifies you to hold this position? As a Hastings councilmember since 2016, I also serve on the Dakota County Broadband Board & School District 200 Community Engagement Committee. Having worked in state and local government for 25 years, I have broad experience with law enforcement, business, and transportation officials. I hold a Master’s degree from Hamline University.

  • What would your top priorities be if elected? My top 3 priorities help our state prosper: 1) Develop more affordable housing and daycare options, 2) fully fund public education, pre-K through career training and 3) invest in infrastructure and foster development.

Rep Angie Craig supports better broadband in Le Sueur County

Le Sueur County News reports

No matter who wins the election next November, Le Sueur County will have a new representative in Congress.
Following statewide redistricting, Le Sueur County was moved into CD2, currently represented by DFL Rep. Angie Craig, of Prior Lake. Before facing off against challenger and Marine veteran Tyler Kistner, R-Prior Lake, the incumbent dropped in on the latest addition to her district to speak with local farmers and county officials about agriculture issues and broadband expansion.

Here’s her view on broadband…

After stopping in Kilkenny for the Halfway to St. Paddy’s Day festival, Craig journeyed to Montgomery, where she hosted a roundtable on broadband with Le Sueur County Administrator Joe Martin, County Broadband Initiative Coordinator Barbara Droher-Kline, Tri-City United Schools IT Administrator Carl Menk and Lanesburgh Township Clerk Liz Krocak.

In 2021, with the use of CARES Act dollars, Le Sueur County funded the development of seven towers, including two in Waterville, one in Le Center, Tyrone Township, Cleveland, Montgomery, Cordova and Kasota.

Le Sueur County financed the towers alongside other projects, including WiFi hotspots at the Le Sueur County Fairgrounds, Ney Nature Center, Gorman and Volney Park and Lexington Township Hall as well as a fiber optic network by MetroNet between Kasota and Ottawa, Lake Volney and Gorman Lake, Waterville and Le Center.

Though the county’s municipalities are well served by high-speed internet, Martin told the CD2 Congresswoman Le Sueur County will need more than towers to serve the needs of rural residents.

“It runs well, but in the long-term we need our rural areas to run fiber to the door and right now it’s not happening because the return on investment isn’t there for the providers to do it,” said Martin. “The bottom line is they’re not going to do it to lose money.”

In total, the county administrator estimated it would require $12 million in outside dollars and a 25% match from the county to reach every household with fiber.

Craig was receptive to the idea and pointed toward her work securing $3.2 million in broadband investment for Goodhue County.

“That’s been my biggest contribution to Goodhue County is getting federal dollars for broadband over the past few years,” said Craig. “That would be something I would be all over in Le Sueur County as well.”

The Congresswoman labeled herself a strong supporter of financing community projects within her district and promised the county representatives she will be making similar visits to Le Sueur County if re-elected.

“I’m not afraid to ask for $12 million, I know they’re going to cut it in the final proposal, but I’m not afraid to ask for what I want,” said Craig. “I want to represent this community with all my heart in 2023.”

Gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen puts broadband on priority list at Farmfest

The Duluth News Tribute reports

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen on Tuesday, Aug. 2, outlined a 10-step plan to support Greater Minnesota communities complete with proposals to expand broadband access and speed up the process of getting farm permits.

The article adds…

Walz has supported some of the efforts in his legislative priorities and budget plans at the Capitol, including building out access to biofuels and increasing funding for broadband.

MN 8th Congressional District candidates mention broadband (Jen Schultz and John Munter)

The Duluth News Tribune posts candidates’ views from two candidates competing for Democratic candidate for Northeastern Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. Both mentioned broadband, although Jen Schultz seems to be more specific in her plans.

From Jen Schultz

I’m running to represent Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District after four productive terms representing Duluth in the Minnesota Legislature.  …

We need to diversify our economy with investments in infrastructure, broadband, education, affordable housing, and technology. Our current Rep. Pete Stauber voted against the federal infrastructure bill that will bring more than $7 billion to Minnesota to upgrade our roads, bridges, ports, broadband, and airports. It will also pay to replace lead service lines and bring good-paying jobs to Northeastern Minnesota. Incredibly, Stauber’s strong opposition to the bill didn’t stop him from taking credit for projects it funded .

From John Munter

I am running for Congress because anyone picked out of the phone book at random could be doing a better job than Rep. Pete Stauber the past four years, with his votes against the economic interests of the 8th District in opposing the American Rescue Plan and infrastructure funding for schools, small businesses, child tax credits, 29 area airports, six iron mines, Duluth’s Can-of Worms project, the cleanup of the St Louis River, and a critically important new lock in the Soo Locks that prevents an economic catastrophe to our grain and ore shipping if the large lock goes down.

Stauber has promoted low-cost drugs, a cap on insulin, broadband, infrastructure, and support for veterans — and then voted against them like a Libertarian who hates all government. He also voted against reasonable gun regulation, flying in sorely needed baby formula, and prohibitions against oil-price gouging.

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.