Republican congressional candidate Bret Richards pledged Friday that he would make it a priority to close the gap between the cutting-edge digital networks serving most urban areas and the current, lagging service found in rural areas.
Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst were among 40 U.S. senators who joined in a bipartisan call to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to ensure that rural digital network projects receive a fair share of federal funding.
“The senators noted that if our rural communities are to survive and flourish, we need access to services that are on par with those in urban areas. Living in a small town in western Iowa, I know just how important digital connectivity is to economic development, business retention and even basic public safety,” Richards said. “I also know that our congressional district needs a representative who can work within the Republican House caucus and across party lines to get things done for us. I’ll bring a daily commitment to the job to focus on, talk about and work on the things that make Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District more connected and competitive.”
He added, “I share the determination and foresight that Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have shown to bridge rural Iowa – and rural America’s – digital divide and I’ll make that a top priority if elected.”
Richards agrees with the senators’ call for the FCC to adopt new rules for the federal government’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to “promote the deployment of networks that will be sustainable for the available universal service fund budget for many years to come.”
Richards served as a combat engineer officer in the U.S. Army. As the CEO of Country Stores, a chain of convenience stores, he employed over 300 people across western Iowa. In addition to raising three children with his wife, Jill, he also serves as a board chair at the Manning Regional Healthcare Center and teaches doctoral students at Creighton University. Richards is running for Congress “to break the stranglehold that career politicians currently have on the country.”