MN Voice is part of the White House Broadband Forum
May 27, 2021
DETROIT LAKES, Minnesota – High-speed internet access has been heightened awareness during the pandemic, primarily due to its impact on students trying to navigate distance education.
Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a virtual listening session on the digital divide that affects many parts of America.
A Minnesota woman, student and mother, was able to tell her story at the White House this week.
Amanda Schermerhorn, Federal Legislative Defense Fellow for Lead Minnesota, a recent Minnesota State Community and Technical College graduate and mother of four, spoke about her balance, which involved helping her children learn from a distance, while also trying to cope. online course.
“I found myself hiding in my car on my mobile hotspot, often trying to do my job while my kids were in Zoom classes, or even in the parking lot of my closed college campus,” Schermerhorn explained.
Schermerhorn plans to continue her academic career and work as a civil rights lawyer. She stressed that her family was able to persist.
Proponents of expanding broadband access say such examples are all too common. The Biden administration has proposed $ 100 billion in broadband funding in its infrastructure plan. And while improving access enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, Republicans have said the comprehensive public works plan is too important.
Schermerhorn pointed out that his family’s rural background has played a significant role in their inability to stay in touch at a level that meets their needs.
“We don’t have fiber optic cables in our house,” Schermerhorn explained. “They’re running under the road near where we live, but it’s close to two football pitches down the road.”
In addition to federal plans, leaders in Minnesota have discussed spending up to $ 70 million on broadband infrastructure under a state budget framework. Some lawmakers representing rural areas say they would like legislative leaders to accept higher totals.
This story was originally published by the Public News Service. For more information, visit publicnewsservice.org. And subscribe now to the Public News Service’s “2020Talks”, a daily 3-minute podcast that will answer all of your election questions.