By Mike Kruzman /

The Democratic slate of candidates for Livingston County offices and seats is calling for better internet that reaches all residents.

The Livingston County Democratic Executive Committee, in a release, states that the county should set a goal of 100% internet access throughout the county by 2024. They state that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown that high-speed internet connection is no longer a luxury, and has become as essential to modern life as electricity. Bob Sexton, a former Fowlerville teacher is running for County Commission District 1. He said that in some parts of the county children couldn’t continue their education when schools closed due to lack of broad band, and that we risk having them fall behind because of that. Sexton said adults are impacted, too, with some often finding it hard to work from home or apply for unemployment because of poor service.

The Committee points out that internet access is also necessary for tele-medicine appointments, court hearings, shopping, and job searching. Lack of high speed internet can also hurt property values, making homes harder to sell.

While the county Master Plan mentions improving internet access through the expansion of DSL lines, the Democrats want more. They state that the county should establish a broadband equity subcommittee, supplemented with educators, business representatives, township officials, and consumers. They want to conduct a survey of county households to document what services are available and how satisfied residents are. Democrats want to investigate the availability of grants and loans, and consider the creation of non-profit cooperatives to pay for broadband expansion. And finally they want to push for passage of state legislation to allow the use of special assessment districts for improving broad band access.