LAKEWOOD – The Democrat candidate for the 23rd New York Congressional District is calling for federal assistance in bringing broadband internet to rural areas throughout the country.
Tracy Mitrano, a Penn Yan native who is challenging incumbent Congressman Tom Reed (R) in November, held a coffee meet-and-greet Wednesday morning at Stedman Corners Coffee Roasters on West Fairmount Avenue.
Mitrano says the lack of broadband internet has stunted the overall growth of the district.
“I came out in 2018 on this point that we can’t revitalize the district without it (broadband internet) and we need it for education, for work, for the people who have lost their jobs, they may want to re-certify in something and get back into the workforce and they can’t do it because most of those programs are online,” Mitrano said. “There’s no public transportation to get to a community college or a certification place. We really need the internet; it’s a utility.”
Mitrano detailed a lengthy history of the Federal Government assisting rural communities in growing its access to various technology.
“I’m making the argument that there is a role for the Federal Government to play in getting broadband out throughout this district and throughout this country,” Mitrano said. In addition, she adds that she’s written to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul pleading for Governor Andrew Cuomo to cease giving grant money to internet providers, rather than to local municipalities, when attempting to expand fiber optics.
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel was recently appointed to an FCC committee. He says he hopes to use the appointment help foster more and better broadband in rural counties.
Wendel, is a newly federally appointed member of Chairman Ajit Pai’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IAC).