While Missouri’s Third District is home to our state capital and heavily populated areas like St. Charles County, our district is also home to many rural communities made up of small towns, farms …
While Missouri’s Third District is home to our state capital and heavily populated areas like St. Charles County, our district is also home to many rural communities made up of small towns, farms and ranches. We have 13 counties that span from the Mississippi River as far west as the Lake of the Ozarks. No matter where you land on the map, broadband connectivity is most likely essential for your family’s day-to-day life. Living my entire life in rural Missouri, I’m all too familiar with poor broadband connection and know firsthand how important quality access to broadband is to the success of our district.
If there was any doubt before, the last year made it abundantly clear that all Americans – no matter their zip code – require access to high-speed internet to productively operate in modern day America. The pandemic created a need for constant internet access while America operated online to do everything from visits with doctors to work meetings to helping our kids attend school. The digital divide between those with access to quality internet and those without was made clearer than ever. While I’m hopeful we will never be put in a position like that again, the circumstances we faced during the pandemic brought disparities in broadband access to light and showed my colleagues and I in Congress where improvements need to desperately be made.
This week, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing on the importance of broadband in our nation’s economic development. Studies continually show that rural communities with access to high-speed internet have higher rates of job creation, population growth, business development, and lower unemployment. With the economy largely reopened, it is absolutely critical that we give all communities a level playing field to economically rebound and foster an environment for businesses to not just recover, but thrive. Here in the Third District, we rely heavily on access to broadband. Farmers and ranchers require broadband to stay in touch with customers, keep up with the latest in commodity markets, and remain aware of potential supply chain interruptions or trade regulations. And families and business owners in small towns like my own depend on broadband for things like operating a successful business, keeping up with their favorite baseball team on television, writing a tenth grade research paper, or working from home.
In Congress, we continue to work toward common ground with the administration to come to an agreement on an infrastructure package, of which broadband is a part. There are many things to disagree on here in Congress, but fortunately infrastructure – real infrastructure like roads, bridges, and waterways – and the need to establish quality broadband for rural America and under served areas are items both sides of the aisle can agree upon. The Third District needs broadband improvements, and I will continue doing everything in my power to make them happen.
CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.