Newly-declared presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has hit the campaign trail running, and his first stop was in the crucial state of Iowa.
While there, O’Rourke spoke at a Keokuk, IA coffee shop about what he believes is a need for rural communities across America to have access to broadband:
“In Texas we have a problem with broadband in rural communities. You may have that in Iowa as well, where farmers and ranchers and producers literally cannot get online, where people cannot start businesses in their own town or finish their education after high school because they cannot get online,” O’Rourke said at a campaign event in Keokuk, Iowa.
“They can’t go to Tinder and find a date tonight, to find that special person who’s going to make the difference in their lives. I want to make sure every American has that opportunity.”
Watch his comments in the video below:
Beto on rural broadband: "They can't go to Tinder and find a date tonight to find that special person who's going to make the difference in their lives." pic.twitter.com/NXqStKZPp8
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) March 14, 2019
He then went on to talk about how in 1935 Congress and FDR created the “Rural Electrification Administration” that he said “partnered through co-ops with local communities to invest in themselves with federal backing and support.” He called for something similar on the issue of broadband access.
I guess he’s not aware that the USDA already launched a program like this last year:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2018 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering up to $600 million in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s new ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. Answering the Administration’s call to action for rural prosperity, Congress appropriated funds in the fiscal year 2018 budget for this broadband pilot program. USDA Rural Development is the primary agency delivering the program, with assistance from other federal partners.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
Families in rural communities may indeed need better access to broadband so they can be better equipped to start their own businesses, communicate with each other, and access popular dating apps. But it’s clear O’Rourke himself needs better access to the Internet, too, so he can actually utilize this nifty little tool called “Google search.”
Here’s video of another campaign stop O’Rourke made in Iowa Thursday.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–