U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin stopped in the Northwoods Saturday, first meeting with supporters in Rhinelander, then traveling to Northland Pines High School in Eagle River to participate in a broadband roundtable at the school and see their Fab Lab.
Democrat Baldwin says while talk of cutbacks in the federal budget are being worked out, she's optimistic that funding for high speed internet will continue.
She admits there are large challenges in the proposed federal budget...
"....we've also heard a strong commitment from President Trump's campaign and transition about a very robust infrastructure plan. I've led a letter with a number of my colleagues to say that infrastructure plan needs to include broadband. Broadband is part of modern infrastructure. We'd love to see a commitment there go beyond where we currently are...."
Having broadband is critical to another unique Northwoods program: the Fab Lab, now at several area high schools. Baldwin says she favors more of them...
"....people who tinker, who like to work with their hands, who like to fix things, who like to invent things, who like to try out prototypes and see what works. This is how small businesses of the future start...."
Citing a farmer in southern Wisconsin who became successful selling products after getting broadband access, Baldwin says broadband has the potential to be change rural economies.