Tennesseans, we live in a very local-oriented state. What we get started in the state starts best in our various locales, building up steam, and then gets pushed up to the state level. The same pertains to our grass-roots efforts to get better broadband internet service.
So, this is why three recently passed local resolutions will be sending a clear message to our Senators and Representatives in Nashville: we need fast, affordable municipal broadband NOW! Marion County passed a unanimous resolution in September 2014, Bradley County/Cleveland passed a resolution 12-1 in December 2015, and Hamilton County (Chattanooga) passed a resolution 7-2 this month (January 2016).
So the Citizens Striving to be Part of the 21st Century is now requesting your help: Let your County Officials know of your need and inability to have fast, affordable broadband internet access, and how its lack impacts your life. Stress especially how it negatively impacts your business/work life and the educational progress of your children or grandchildren. Encourage your local officials to pass resolutions similar to those passed in Marion, Bradley and Hamilton Counties, in order to send the needed messages to Nashville.
You can find the appropriate county website on this page: http://gml.ctas.tennessee.edu/. Scroll down the list to find your county (in alphabetical order), and click on the appropriate county website. Each county website will be laid out a little differently. Once in your county website, we recommend that you find the page with the elected officials, then find the elected official that represents the voting district that you live in. Then send the official(s) your correspondence, reaching out to their email address, snail mail address, and/or call them. If the Mayor or County Executive is elected, also send correspondence to him/her. Remind your correspondents that you vote, and their stance and actions on this important issue you are carefully tracking, and will vote accordingly!
The 2016 Tennessee State Legislative session is now convening, so we need to hurry. The bills we need to see passed were tabled last year due to a lack of support in the Senate. What bills are we trying to get passed in Nashville? HB1303 in the House and SB1134 in the Senate. These bills are designed to remove the unfair and restrictive laws passed in 1999 at the behest of the big telecom companies, that restrict municipal broadband access to all Tennessee citizens, urban, suburban or rural. Let your local officials know that these are the bills that they need to support at the local level. You can track the progress of these bills here: HB1303 and SB1134.
Our elected officials do listen! Remember that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you have any questions about this process or need help, please contact us using the contact form at the bottom of https://21stcenturycitizens.org/about/.