Sen. Klobuchar Tours East Central Minnesota
A day after President Barack Obama signed the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar toured East Central Minnesota shaking hands and offering words of encouragement to local residents.
Minnesota’s lone Senator made five stops, Wednesday, including in Mora and Pine City. In Mora, Klobuchar met with a roomful of concerned farmers at Freddie’s Restaurant. She then stopped at Pine Technical College where she discussed rural broadband access with a classroom comprised of educators, state and local government officials and others.
Klobuchar made stops in Chisago City and Cambridge earlier, and was scheduled to appear in Cloquet later in the day.
In Mora, Klobuchar heard daunting stories from farmers fighting to stay afloat in a struggling industry. Cheese prices have fallen nearly 40-percent in the past month. Numbers like these along with rising food prices threaten the sustainability of local farmers.
Klobuchar’s Speech to Local Farmers:
Klobuchar vowed to take the concerns and suggestions she heard at Freddies back to Washington D.C. and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Klobuchar said she and senators in other states are currently working to come up with alternative solutions to improve life for farmers.
The Senator’s fourth of five stops, Wednesday, brought her to Pine Technical College in Pine City. Klobuchar discussed rural broadband access with an eclectic group made up of those on the Fiber Optic’s Joint Power Board, internet access providers, and state and local government leaders, among others.
Klobuchar says expanding and improving broadband access to rural communities can have a significant impact on local economies. According to the Brookings Institution, each percentage point of broadband adoption could add 293,000 private sector jobs a year to the economy. A a study from Connected Nation estimates that with a seven percentage point increase in broadband adoption as many as 2.4 million additional jobs could be created – with an estimated economic impact of $134 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
Hear Klobuchar Talk About Economic Impact of Broadband:
Klobuchar says America ranks 15th in the world in broadband subscribership, down from fourth eight years ago. With the approval of the federal stimulus package, Klobuchar says projects to expand broadband access should begin within a year.
The group at Pine Tech raised concerns regarding the cost of providing broadband access to areas in Greater Minnesota. Other concerns included implementation and accessibility.
Klobuchar is scheduled to tour Duluth and northeast Minnesota, Thursday.