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Video: Despite his own bill, Sen. Wesley Meredith votes against rural broadband

In February Senator Wesley Meredith introduced S65, the BRIGHT Futures Act which encourages the establishment of a digital infrastructure, “necessary for economic innovation,” including broadband, in rural areas.

Meredith joined Cumberland Rep. John Szoka and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest for a press conference on February 9, in which Meredith expressed excitement about the bill saying it was something he had been working on for six years. 

“We have a lot of people who do not have access to broadband,” Meredith said, “we need to have that.”

S65 puts the Rural Economic Development Division in charge of giving grants to the Rural Infrastructure Authority to build digital infrastructure to support broadband. But while S65 is stuck in Senate Rules, Meredith had a chance to vote for the exact broadband investments he says he wants.

Instead, Meredith voted against a budget amendment that would have resurrected his six-year endeavor to connect rural North Carolina during the late-night Senate budget debate on May 12.

Senator Erica Smith-Ingram proposed Amendment 13 which would give over $8 million to the Rural Economic Development Division to establish “Broadband Development Grants” to build infrastructure to support broadband in rural areas.

Why did Meredith vote against something that he seemed to care so much about? Apparently, Meredith cares more about partisan politics than the rural communities that need broadband.   

Instead of standing up to Phil Berger, Meredith sat idly by and left rural North Carolinians behind. His claims that connecting North Carolinians to the internet is a goal of his are nothing more than political pandering because when it came time to score, Meredith simply passed the ball.