Look, there is a lot of speculation about the upcoming county mayor’s race.

Who will run? What party will they be? Can they be elected? Do they have the experience for the job?

Forget all those questions. What I want to know is why we don’t have a plan to get every single one of our citizens access to high-speed Internet?

About 10 years ago, I was doing a dopey call-in radio show. My premise one particular night was this:

For traditional economic development locally, we had already accepted that without direct access to interstates, we were dead in the water.

So I said, “We’ve missed out on the highways; let’s not miss out on the super information highway.”

Now since only about seven people listened to that radio broadcast, I’m not exactly surprised this message didn’t get out.

But doesn’t it bother you that of all 4,000 or whatever of your county commissioners, none of them have made this a priority for you?

Basically, our bloated county commission is still as worthless as it’s ever been, so I’m not surprised.

This means it’s up to one person, our county mayor, to make this happen.

Now some of you boll weevils out there are thinking, “What do we need high-speed Internet for, so the grandbabies can play video games?”

No, chicken brain, you don’t “need” high-speed Internet for that. You “need” high-speed Internet to compete in a high-speed Internet world.

And while, yes, county residents are missing out on entertainment while the rest of us who live near cable access are not, we also are reaping many other benefits.

Do you know how many businesses are Internet-reliant? Almost all of them!

Do you know how many businesses can be improved using cloud-based technologies? Almost all of them!

No, you didn’t know that, because if you did, you would pull out your old lawsuit handbook and sue our county commission for neglect.

Or for restraint of trade. Or for collusion against profits. Or for promotion of rural ignorance. Or for just being dumb themselves. Pick one.

Since that’s not going to happen, the 80% of the county who does not have access, should be extremely upset.

High-speed Internet has become a utility. It is important, and growing more important every day, for the welfare of all citizens.

Yes, most of the time we want the government out of our lives. But it is the government’s responsibility to tackle issues a single business or industry cannot. This is one of those situations.

If you’ve lived in Cottage Grove, Buchanan, Springville, Mansfield and watched as the county slowly allowed your communities to be swallowed up, this is simply another example of that.

At some point, you people must stand up for yourselves. At some point, you must gather together and demand some changes for your people, for your neighbors and for your families.

So, next county mayor candidate, let’s get on this. I’m not letting this go. We’ll talk soon — might want to put it in writing.

By the way, I like all you guys rumored to be running. I really, really do; but you know what walks and you know what talks.

Let’s elevate our citizens — yes, even the ones who voted for President Donald Trump.


DAN JACKSON is a self-employed Paris businessman. His email address is danjackson@alittleoff.net.

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