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Cramer leads Rural Broadband Caucus launch

North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer

PHOTO COURTESY CONGRESSMAN CRAMER
N.D. Rep. Kevin Cramer joined with other Members of Congress to announce the formation of the new Rural Broadband Caucus.

The Rural Broadband Caucus has been launched on a bipartisan basis among Members of the U.S. Congress. North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer is helping lead the formation of the group. 

Cramer joined with fellow Congressmen Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) last month to announce the formation of the Rural Broadband Caucus. The initiative will facilitate discussion, educate members of Congress and staff, and develop policy solutions to the digital divide that exists in rural America.

“Access to high-quality, affordable broadband technology continues to transform the economy of rural America,” said Rep. Cramer. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and stakeholders to continue to foster its growth, for the benefit of North Dakota and the entire nation.”  

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, applauded Rep. Cramer’s leadership in this key new initiative. NTCA supports the formation and direction of the Rural Broadband Caucus.

“NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association applauds Congressman Kevin Cramer for his continued leadership and dedication to rural America, demonstrated most recently by co-founding the new Rural Broadband Caucus, which seeks to educate members and staff and develop policy solutions to combat the digital divide that exists in rural America,” Bloomfield said.

“NTCA was pleased to have a role in the inaugural caucus event and we look forward to working with the group, which, under Cramer’s leadership, will help other members and staff learn more about the industry and become more effective advocates,” Bloomfield added.

David Crothers, general manager of the North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives, joined Bloomfield is praising the formation of the caucus and the role Rep. Cramer is playing. “We are very pleased Rep. Cramer and his House colleagues are taking this vital step to help educate federal policymakers about the continued work necessary to bring affordable broadband to rural America,” Crothers said.

Reps. Latta, Pocan and Welch join with Rep. Cramer as co-chairs of the new caucus. Each of them strongly endorses the work it is undertaking.

“Access to broadband is essential. It is a primary driver of economic development and empowers and connects communities – especially rural communities like I represent in northwest and west central Ohio,” Congressman Latta said. “This caucus will bring greater attention to the need for high-speed broadband in rural America, and help to encourage and spur innovative solutions to address this growing consumer demand.”  

“Access to reliable, high-speed Internet service is vital to economic growth in communities across America,” said Rep. Pocan. “Whether it is for commerce, education or public safety needs, broadband service allows individuals and businesses in rural communities to take advantage of new technologies and stay connected to a 21st century economy. There are many parts of my district where residents experience extremely slow download speeds even as low as 1 mbps. I look forward to working with Reps. Welch, Latta and Cramer to discuss policy solutions to the digital divide existing in rural America.”

“Access to high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity in our homes, schools and for our businesses,” Congressman Welch said. “In order for states like Vermont to succeed and compete in the 21st century, we must close the digital divide by expanding and updating broadband infrastructure and ensure access to a high-speed, reliable connection for all.”

Cramer, Latta, Pocan and Welch will serve as co-chairs of the new caucus. Other members include U.S. Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Luke Messer (R-Ind.), Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) and Rob Woodall (R-Ga.).