WILLMAR—At their annual visit to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners, District 17 Senator Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, and District 17B Representative Dave Baker, R-Willmar, were on hand to not only give an update on what is happening in St. Paul, but to also take in the concerns and priorities of the board.
“We’re here today to listen,” Baker said.
The topic the group spent the most time on during Tuesday’s meeting was broadband. Since early 2021, the county board has made expanding the reach of high speed broadband a high priority, even pledging up to 75% of its coronavirus relief funds from the American Rescue Plan act to the cause.
“This group of people are very committed to broadband,” said Connie Schmoll, who has been working on county broadband projects on a contracted basis.
In recent months the state and federal government have also brought broadband forward as a priority, in part due to the pandemic and how it showed the need for high speed internet access across the nation. The federal infrastructure bill includes hundreds of millions of dollars for broadband infrastructure, some of which will come to Minnesota.
“It has become the new rural electric issue. It is infrastructure, it has to happen,” said Commissioner Rollie Nissen.
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