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In First House Agriculture Committee Hearing, Spanberger Highlights Central Virginia Priorities, Asks USDA Secretary Perdue about Steps to Expand Rural Broadband Access

The Congresswoman also Focused on the Implementation of the Conservation Title in the 2018 Farm Bill & Tariff’s Negative Impacts on Central Virginia Farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger participated in her first U.S. House Agriculture Committee hearing, where she asked U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue about priorities important to Central Virginia’s rural communities — including expanding high-speed, reliable broadband internet access.

During the House Agriculture Committee’s first hearing of this Congress, Spanberger highlighted the need for tangible improvements to rural broadband infrastructure across the United States. She asked Secretary Perdue whether the current funding for broadband programs at the USDA is adequate to serve all areas of Virginia’s Seventh District and the country. Secretary Perdue replied that current funding for broadband is “certainly not” sufficient to expand broadband across the country, and added that he “would love for this committee to be a champion, to help us moonshot – to cover this country from coast to coast with broadband.”

Preceding her questions, Spanberger invited Secretary Perdue to visit her district to hear directly from Central Virginia farmers and dairy producers, and get their feedback on current USDA policies and 2018 Farm Bill implementation. He accepted her invitation. Click here for a full video of her remarks.

“Many rural families cannot grow and maintain healthy, thriving, and successful communities without reliable broadband access. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I’m focused on expanding broadband internet access for Central Virginians and rural residents across the country,” said Spanberger. “Today, I wanted to stress to Secretary Perdue that rural broadband access has significant impacts on education inequality, economic growth, health outcomes, population-drain, and other challenges facing rural and undeserved communities. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to bring the concerns of our District to Secretary Perdue today, and I am glad he has accepted my invitation to visit Central Virginia to hear from our farmers and understand the needs of our rural communities. I look forward to showing Secretary Perdue the array of farms, dairies, and vineyards that add to the economic and cultural strength of Virginia’s Seventh District.”

Since her swearing-in, Spanberger has pushed for effective, bipartisan solutions to expand broadband internet access throughout rural America. Earlier this month, Spanberger shared a resource guide released by USDA to support the expansion of rural broadband access across Central Virginia. Last week, rural broadband access was a top constituent concern during Spanberger’s first and second town hall events in Goochland and Spotsylvania counties. And last month, Spanberger urged U.S. House leadership to pursue bipartisan legislation that would make major investments in critical infrastructure improvements, like high-speed broadband internet.

Last month, Spanberger was selected to serve as Chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry. The Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee is responsible for legislation related to resource management, soil health, forestry, and water quality. Spanberger also serves as a member of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee.

Spanberger represents Virginia’s 7th District Congressional District, which contains all or portions of Amelia, Chesterfield, Culpeper, Goochland, Henrico, Louisa, Nottoway, Orange, Powhatan, and Spotsylvania counties in Central Virginia.

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