New Episode: Unlocking Rural Broadband Access with Connie Stewart

Welcome back to this week’s episode of “Off the Cuff w. Rep. Huffman,” with special guest Connie Stewart, Executive Director of the California Center for Rural Policy at Humboldt State University. This episode was recorded fresh off a Congressional committee hearing on my bill- the Public Lands Telecommunications Act (H.R. 2425)- where Connie testified before the committee on the benefits of expanding high speed internet access to rural communities.

I sat down with her to talk about policies that can help rural communities access high-speed broadband internet, which we all know is a vital challenge facing the North Coast. I have heard from some constituents seeking written transcripts of these podcasts because they lack the high-speed connection needed to tune in.

It’s easy for people in many parts of the country to take high-speed internet for granted, forgetting that there are many others who do not have this option. The digital divide is real, and it hampers education, small businesses, emergency services, health care, and local economies.

My new bill would help close this gap and connect rural communities to high-speed internet through partnership with federal public land managers, and it’s slated for a vote in the House Committee on Natural Resources next week (a huge victory for a Democratic bill in this Congress!).

For those of you who don’t know her, Connie Stewart is a former Mayor of Arcata, and was also recently named Humboldt County Woman of the Year and we’re excited to have her. She has worked for years and seen firsthand the effects of internet access expansion in Humboldt County first as a staffer for former Assemblymember Patty Berg and now as Executive Director of the California Center for Rural Policy at Humboldt State University.

Have a question? Please send it to huffmanpodcast@gmail.com and you can hear me answer on a future episode of “Off the Cuff with Rep. Huffman.”

Cheers!