Kinzinger, Rural Broadband Caucus members welcome group’s new co-chairman

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), co-chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, joined fellow leaders of the bipartisan group to welcome a new leader among them.

Incoming co-chair U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), who already serves on the House Rural Broadband Caucus, “has been a staunch advocate for closing the digital divide in this country,” said Rep. Kinzinger in a Jan. 3 joint statement released with fellow co-chairmen U.S. Reps. Bob Latta (R-OH), Peter Welch (D-VT), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and David Loebsack (D-IA).

“As co-chair, he will bring a wealth of experience and additional perspective as we look to make even more progress in the 116th Congress,” the lawmakers’ said in their statement.

Rep. Wittman replaces outgoing co-chairman U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), formerly a U.S. Representative representing North Dakota for the Republican party.

“We thank him for his tireless efforts here in the People’s House fighting to expand broadband access in rural America,” according to the members’ statement. “We look forward to having a closer partner on the other side of the Capitol to continue this fight with us as we move into the new year.”

The congressmen also noted some of the House Rural Broadband Caucus achievements during the 115th Congress, such as the 2018 Farm Bill, which included more funding for broadband deployment and improved government coordination regarding the Rural Utility Service program, as well as caucus efforts in April 2018 that successfully resulted in passage of the fiscal year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, which provided $625 million in funding to deploy broadband in rural areas of the country.

“We have much to be proud of this year, but we know we have plenty of work ahead of us,” according to the caucus co-chairmen. “As we look to the 116th Congress, we will continue to advocate for increased resources — particularly in a potential infrastructure package — along with program streamlining and enhanced oversight to ensure these funds are being spent wisely and are targeted to those with poor service or no service at all.”