Recent broadband session lacking in local officials
I am dismayed at the lack of interest shown by our local officials in broadband access for southeast Ohio and West Virginia. Without this infrastructure, business development and education suffer.
I volunteered at the non-partisan Appalachian OH/WV Connectivity Summit & Town Hall at Washington State on July 18. We had hundreds of attendees, including delegations from 12 Ohio and nine West Virginia counties. We hosted representatives from U.S. Senators Brown, Portman, Manchin, Capito and Gov. Kasich. Also attending were statehouse reps, city mayors, EMS directors, school superintendents, township trustees and 30 county commissioners from our region. Many of these folks drove long distances to add their voices to the constructive, informative work of the day.
Do you know who was not there? Anyone from the Marietta mayor, Washington County Commissioners or sheriff offices. Glaringly, our U.S. Rep Bob Johnson, who is a member of the powerful U.S. congressional subcommittee on communications and technology, was absent. His staffer arrived, as an apparent afterthought, during the last half hour of the day’s policy and action program. This rep did not stay for the comment part of the evening town hall either, the time when our own voices were heard, speaking what is critical for Bob Johnson to know firsthand.
U.S. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn made time in her national schedule to visit Marietta and listen. She went directly back to D.C. to report on what she learned here. During the hearing, Johnson denied his multiple personal invitations to the summit and is so far out of touch he missed advance articles in the Marietta Times, on local radio and online.
We deserve better. If we want representation in this and other areas critical to the future of our community, we must demand it.