In 2014, Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) was adamant in his opposition to expanding public assistance for broadband. Miller said:
I believe that private industry is doing that work, and if there's anything that state can do, it can facilitate that work for private industry to earn profit so that they can expand high-speed throughout all of this district.
If there are school districts, if there are any public facilities, if there are any regions that need remedial help, I would consider that through legislation, but I would not be in favor of public funding of expanding.
Bluestem was pleasantly surprised to read something quite to the contrary in an email we received on Friday:
What is the future of broadband in the State of Minnesota?
This is one of the top questions I've heard from residents since the end of the 2015 session, and I can tell you that I expect broadband to be a top legislative priority in 2016.
When you think of ways to enhance economic development in Greater Minnesota, reliable broadband technology ranks near the top of the list. Most people recognize that what was dedicated to broadband last year isn't enough to meet our needs, and both Republicans and Democrats understand that we need to revisit this topic again next session.
In the Minnesota House, I had few opportunities to vote for broadband this session. I supported legislation during a Minnesota House Greater Minnesota Economic and Workforce Development Policy Committee hearing that allocated $50 million to broadband, and also voted for the new law that ultimately allocated $10.58 million to the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program.
That grant money is now available for distribution, and I encourage cities, counties, businesses, non-profits, and other eligible applicants to consider applying before the September 15 deadline. Full details and application materials can be found on the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website at http://mn.gov/deed/programs-services/broadband/grant-program/
Recently I signed a letter of support for a local company that provides broadband service to 6,000 rural residents in hopes of helping it secure some of the grant funds. If successful, the funding would be used to enhance service levels within its current wireless coverage areas. . . .
We're glad to see that Miller has changed his heart, discovering something other than just pushing to re-open a private prison in Appleton that's owned by a corporation with headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, where the profits gained from keep people in prison would flow.
Or maybe CCA needs super-fast broadband? That's a possibility we didn't consider in our post, W. Central residents speak out for broadband, while guy who's not King of MN favors CCA.
Regardless, it sounds like Miller's now open to investing more money in the state, another change of heart for the freshman legislator. Miller deplored spending hikes under DFL control of the House in a fundraising letter sent earlier this year, although he ended up voting for a bigger budget.
Perhaps he'll clarify next whether he supports (debate) or opposes (Minnesota Family Council questionnaire) medical cannabis. Or what he means when he comments, "Because we are giving Him [God] the middle finger. That includes most Christians."
See our earlier posts:
Photo: Rep. Tim Miller, via Facebook.
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