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Rep. Craig Headland remains strong rural telecom advocate

From staff reports

David Crothers, general manager of NDATC, left, with Rep. Craig Headland during the legislative session.
David Crothers, general manager of NDATC, left, with Rep. Craig Headland during the legislative session.

In his service as a state legislator, Rep. Craig Headland (R-Montpelier) has dedicated himself to be a strong voice for rural North Dakota. And since he first came to the state legislature in 2003, Headland has been an advocate for the rural telecom cooperatives in the state. He has been on the board of directors of Dakota Central Telecom Cooperative since 1991, stepping into a board seat his late father, Andrew Headland, held going back to 1968.

Craig Headland is also past director and president of the board of the North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives (NDATC).

Headland’s advocacy for rural North Dakota and the telecom cooperatives continues at this current North Dakota legislative session.

“With the growth and movement of people to urban areas, it is challenging for a rural legislator. We are definitely in the minority,” Headland says. He says the chief challenge is communicating with urban legislators, rallying support for rural policy action in areas urban legislators don’t experience.

Regarding rural telecommunications policy, Headland says his advocacy efforts consist of stressing the importance of modern telecommunications infrastructure – and other components such as electricity, roads and water – to rural people and rural enterprise. He adds that state legislative support for the rapidly growing rural telecommunications sector of the state is important, and that he will continue his efforts to cultivate this support.

“At the legislature, we have a terrific ally, leader and friend of rural telecommunications in Rep. Headland,” says David Crothers, general manager of NDATC. “All of us in the rural telecom community in our state are grateful for his continued efforts on our behalf.”


NTCA praises Pai selection for FCC chair

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is applauding the recent selection by President Donald Trump of Ajit Pai, current member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to serve as chairman of the FCC.

“On behalf of the more than 800 community-based telecommunications providers in the membership of NTCA, I congratulate Commissioner Pai on his designation as FCC chairman,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield.

“Since joining the commission in 2012, Commissioner Pai has shown a commitment to solving rural broadband challenges and to thinking creatively about ways our country can more effectively deploy and sustain advanced communications in rural America,” Bloomfield added. “In an address to the NTCA membership in early 2013, Commissioner Pai was the first of his colleagues to call for universal service to enable broadband services in areas served by our members, and Commissioner Pai has consistently placed a spotlight on the kinds of resources and resourcefulness needed to connect America. Having grown up in a small town in Kansas and noting in his address to NTCA members that ‘rural America is different,’ he has a deep and genuine understanding of how the services that NTCA members deliver improve the quality of life and promote economic development.”

Commissioner Pai visited North Dakota in the fall of 2015, and met with rural telecommunications and other telecom industry representatives.


(Source: NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association)