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Taking the side of WNC’s citizens

To the Editor:

Please allow me a moment to respond to last week’s op-ed by Patrick Gleason “Local government-run broadband a bad idea” in The Smoky Mountain News where he ridiculed my efforts at seeking to allow local governments to be involved in providing internet access. Keeping local governments out of the internet business has come home to roost as many children must go to school virtually — in households which do not have internet service. 

Plus the lack of high speed broadband is hurting the economy of Western North Carolina. This lack of service has come about in North Carolina by Republicans in the NC General Assembly. The Republicans have taken the side of the corporate/for profit telecoms who believe local government will be competitors. They believe local government is incompetent to provide such service. 

I did a bit of research on Gleason. He is a lobbyist/cheerleader and senior fellow for a Tennessee free market think tank, The Beacon Center. He is highly connected to Americans for Tax Reform, a Grover Norquist group, which has reportedly received $150,000 in Covid relief money while our residents struggle to stay afloat with no Covid relief in sight.

This ATR outfit receives undisclosed amounts of money from corporate interests including the telecoms. ATR is deeply involved in the Georgia senate race on the side of the two Republican candidates. 

Mr. Gleason has every right to slam my stance. However, I believe the WNC public deserves to know who he really represents. It is not us, the WNC public. 

Mayor Bob Scott


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