Phil Bredesen, former Governor of Tennessee and current Democratic candidate for Senate from Tennessee wrote an op-ed column last week in the Tennessean to call for government investment in rural broadband internet:
We should ask TVA to step up again, this time with broadband internet access. The poor economics of covering rural areas means we can’t depend solely on commercial enterprises to take this on. Luckily, in Tennessee, we have the perfect semi-public vehicle to do so — TVA.
He mentioned the distressing gaps in access that exist for some rural Tennessee counties.
Over 40 percent of the population of Hickman County is without broadband internet. And in Humphreys County, almost 60 percent of residents are without.
And drew an apt comparison to a former Republican President, back from when Republicans hadn’t completely sold out to corporations yet.
There was a time when America was willing to take on big, ambitious projects. In the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower committed us to build an interstate highway system. He didn’t fool around the edges. He didn’t say, “Let’s do a tax credit here, some government grants over there.” He said, “We’re going to build an interstate highway system” and got it done.
This is what politicians are supposed to be doing: helping the people they represent. Rural Tennessee is not being served well by corporations. Government should step in.
Now, let’s check in on Phil Bredesen’s opponent in this year’s election: Republican Marsha Blackburn.
When Democrats in Congress tried to put forth a bill to allow government funding of rural broadband, Marsha Blackburn opposed the bill. Why? Because government funding might compete against corporations.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the subpanel’s chair, said government needed to complement private investment not compete against it.
She criticized a Democratic bill from Rep. Anna Eshoo (Calif.) and others, the Community Broadband Act, that would allow local communities to invest money in building their own networks.
“One of the bills that does cause me concern is the Community Broadband Act which I think would threaten to undo much of the progress that is being made across the country,” Blackburn said.
This is not an aberration. Marsha Blackburn has spent her entire congressional career choosing corporations over people.
So, in summary, Marsha Blackburn has been a solid vote for you, if you happen to be a Lobbyist or Executive for an Oil and Gas Corporation, a Mining Corporation, a Pharmaceutical Corporation, a Gun Manufacturing Corporation, a Private Prison Corporation, a Cable/Internet Corporation, a Media Conglomerate Corporation, a Chemical Corporation, a Student Textbook Corporation, a Tobacco Corporation, a Banking Corporation, a Private Equity Corporation, an Investment Advisory Corporation, a Food Corporation, a Health Insurance Corporation, a Medical Devices Corporation, a For-Profit School Corporation, a Cement Manufacturing Corporation, any Corporation that Pollutes the Air/Water/Earth, or even a Corporation that Manufactures Light Bulbs.
If you are a worker, a union member, a consumer, a student, a victim of corporate malfeasance, a small business, or simply a citizen that wants to stay safe from gun violence, have access to healthcare and/or enjoy a non-polluted environment, Marsha Blackburn is most definitely not on your side.
The voters of Tennessee have a pretty simple choice to make this November: do they want a Senator who will fight for them, or do they want a Senator who will fight for corporations?