Congressman Jared Huffman

Representing the 2nd District of California

Rep. Jared Huffman Invites President Obama to Visit California’s North Coast to Discuss Closing the Digital Divide in Rural America

Jan 21, 2015
Press Release
Huffman: “Bringing reliable broadband to underserved rural areas would improve educational opportunities, expand access to healthcare, and help local businesses.”

WASHINGTON­—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today invited President Barack Obama to visit California’s North Coast to discuss closing the digital divide in rural America.  During last night’s State of the Union Address, President Obama called for a major investment in “21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet.”

In a letter sent today, Huffman noted that many communities on California’s rural North Coast do not have access to reliable high speed Internet choices due to difficult terrain and chronic underinvestment in physical infrastructure. Many of Huffman’s constituents have slow connection speeds and frequently lose connectivity. The lack of reliable broadband infrastructure on the rural North Coast has left many communities unable to pursue new economic opportunities.

“My constituents who currently have slow connection speeds and intermittent Internet service know the importance of broadband access for economic development and a vibrant quality of life. Bringing reliable broadband to underserved rural areas would improve educational opportunities, expand access to healthcare, and help local businesses,” Huffman wrote. “I respectfully invite you to travel to the North Coast and meet firsthand with the people on the frontline of closing the digital divide in rural America. I believe that visiting the region and seeing the work that must be done to connect these communities — and the significant value that broadband connections would bring — would be instructive to your administration.”

Huffman also invited President Obama to tour the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument, which President Obama created using the Antiquities Act last year.

A copy of the letter can be found below:

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for your commitment to expanding high-speed Internet access to the entire country. The plan you described earlier this month, and highlighted in the State of the Union last night, certainly resonates in the rural and remote communities along California’s North Coast that I represent in Congress.

My constituents who currently have slow connection speeds and intermittent Internet service know the importance of broadband access for economic development and a vibrant quality of life. Bringing reliable broadband to underserved rural areas would improve educational opportunities, expand access to healthcare, and help local businesses.

Like many rural areas, in California’s Second District we face unique challenges in building out broadband. Faced with difficult terrain and chronic underinvestment in physical infrastructure, many communities still have not fully connected to the wide range of economic opportunity that high speed access brings. Nevertheless, local stakeholders continue to work together to find new and innovative solutions to their challenges. Working together with your administration, Congress, and the Federal Communications Commission, we can continue to expand affordable, quality Internet coverage to all Americans.

I respectfully invite you to travel to the North Coast and meet firsthand with the people on the frontline of closing the digital divide in rural America. I believe that visiting the region and seeing the work that must be done to connect these communities — and the significant value that broadband connections would bring — would be instructive to your administration.

As you know, thanks to your proclamation last year, California’s North Coast is also home to one of our nation’s newest National Monuments: the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument. We would be honored for you to visit this spectacular stretch of coastline in person, and see the recreational and economic benefits spurred by your decision to protect it in perpetuity.

Thank you for your consideration, and your continued leadership on this and many other important issues of economic opportunity.

Sincerely,
Jared Huffman

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