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Broadband Access

As the state’s digital divide grows, North Carolinians outside of the large cities can be left behind. Broadband internet is one of the key components of a full digital life, and accessing it is the “electrification” of the 21st century. Many people in small towns in North Carolina do not have this needed utility available. Precision farm equipment requires the use of Wi-fi signals to help farmers maintain the most up-to-date technology for their businesses. Healthcare, which already is scarce in rural areas, increasingly relies on the use of broadband for electronic records software, real-time communication with other providers, and tele-health appointments.

 

Further, broadband access allows for online education options, expanding the choices for both secondary and post-secondary students, and streamlines everyday processes like applying for jobs and paying bills. Because I believe that access to broadband is important for every resident of our state, I support the House Bill 431 to Foster Infrastructure for Broadband Expansion and Resources, or FIBER Act. This bill has bi-partisan support and would give local governments more authority to enter public-private partnerships that would allow for the construction of needed infrastructure and lease agreements that would make broadband available at affordable rates.

 

Ending Gerrymandering

The process of gerrymandering is unfortunately alive and well in North Carolina and is one of the most pressing issues facing us. For the second time in as many years, we find ourselves having to draw new legislative maps because the NC GOP is incapable of drawing maps that comply with the free and fair elections requirement of the NC Constitution. Gerrymandering, no matter which Party engages in it is bad for democracy.

 

The system works when the people choose their representatives, not when the politicians choose their voters. It is beyond time we took the process of drawing these maps out of the hands of politicians who have a vested interest in the process and formed an independent commission of citizens to undertake the redistricting process. I believe in fair and transparent process for drawing legislative maps.