Whitmer Announces More than 200000 Michiganders will Gain Access to

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2023 

Contact: [email protected]

 

Gov. Whitmer Announces More than 200,000 Michiganders will Gain Access to High-Speed Internet Under Historic Funding from Biden Administration

Michigan received fourth-highest grant funding in the nation to expand high-speed internet to households and small businesses. 

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced Michigan is set to receive over $1.5 billion through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to expand high-speed internet access and digital equity to over 200,000 Michiganders in unserved and underserved areas across the state. Funding for this program comes from the $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and will help close the digital divide and help ensure Michigan residents have access to affordable, reliable and high-speed internet.

   

“Today, we have won a game-changing investment to expand access to reliable, affordable high-speed internetto210,000 more homes across Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “We are focused on helping anyone ‘Make it in Michigan,’ with a comprehensive view on economic development that wins projects, invests in people, and revitalizes places. Today’s winwill expand economic opportunity for Michiganders and build on the over $700 million in high-speed internet federal funding we have leveraged and $249 million we invested with the bipartisan Building Michigan Together Plan last year. Let’s keep working together to connect more families and small businesses to fast, reliable high-speed internet that meets their needs, lowers their costs, and grows our economy.”

   

Each state and territory received a minimum of $100 million and the remainder of their allocation is based on the number of locations currently unserved by high-speed internet as identified on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) National Broadband Map.

   

“Today’s announcement is going to play a major part in closing the digital divide and connecting Michiganders to education, health care and economic opportunity,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Governor Whitmer and I are committed to expanding access to high-speed internet throughout Michigan and will continue working with anyone to connect Michigan families and small businesses and grow our economy.”

  

The Michigan High Speed Internet Office (MIHI) will finish the required BEAD 5-Year Action Plan that will set the vision, goals, and priorities for the implementation of the funds. Following the plan, MIHI will develop the BEAD Initial Proposal that will define the subgrant processes that will deploy the funds to achieve the universal availability of high-speed internet across the state.

   

“The MIHI team is thrilled to see the announcement of the BEAD program,” said Eric Frederick, Chief Connectivity Officer with the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office. “This grant is crucial to achieve affordable, reliable high-speed internet for all Michiganders and close the digital equity gap here in Michigan.”

  

 “Access to high-speed internet means access to jobs, education, and healthcare. These investments in high-speed internet infrastructure will mean that even the most remote areas of Michigan have equitable access to high-speed internet,” said Zachary Kolodin, Michigan’s Chief Infrastructure Office and Director of the Michigan Infrastructure Office. “The federal funding we’ve received from the BEAD program will allow us to connect more than 200,000 underserved households to high-quality, high-speed internet, ensuring that every home in all of Michigan’s 83 counties has broadband access.”

   

“High speed internet isn’t a luxury, it’s an essential service that we need for everything from work, school, doctors’ visits, and paying our bills,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow.“With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Senator Peters and I were able to ensure major investments like this to expand affordable, reliable broadband in Michigan. In partnership with Governor Whitmer and the Michigan High Speed Internet Office, this new infrastructure will allow for telemedicine, remote learning, and other services families and businesses rely on in Michigan.”

  

“Reliable, affordable high-speed internet is critical for all Michiganders, including in unserved and underserved communities,” said Senator Gary Peters. “I’m pleased to help deliver this game-changing federal investment in high-speed internet to our state. This will make a big difference for families, workers, students and small businesses, including to those who currently lack access, and is important to economic opportunity and competitiveness.”

  

“Reliable internet access is essential for students, workers and small businesses to be successful in the global economy,” said Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-08). “I am proud to have passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve internet access in Michigan communities. In Congress, I will continue fighting to bring federal resources home to Michigan.”

  

“From telehealth to virtual learning, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted just how essential the internet is to our everyday lives, and just how many Americans still lack access to these basic resources,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-6). “Expanding strong broadband internet access is a critical piece of bringing our infrastructure into the 21st century, and BEAD will help connect our communities who need it the most.”

  

Michigan will begin deploying the BEAD program funds mid to late 2024.

  

Stay up to date on the progress of the BEAD program in Michigan by visiting the MIHI website at Michigan.gov/MIHI

  

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Governor Parson Announces 19 Appointments to Various Boards and Commissions,

JUNE 5, 2024

Jefferson City — Today, Governor Mike Parson announced 19 appointments to various boards and commissions and filled two county office vacancies.

Steve Ahrens, of Jefferson City, was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Disability.

Mr. Ahrens currently serves as president and CEO of the Missouri Propane Gas Association. He previously served as designated principal assistant for the Missouri Office of Administration and as director of the Publications Division for the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office. Mr. Ahrens holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from Missouri State University.

Victoria Babb, of St. Peters, was appointed to the Missouri Community Service Commission.

Ms. Babb currently serves as community resource director for Cunningham Recreation and runs the Play 4 ALL division. She previously served in the National Civilian Community Corps and Americorps St. Louis Partners. Ms. Babb is a board member of the St. Charles Community College Foundation and the Center for Autism Education. Ms. Babb holds a Bachelor of Arts in social science, economics, and public policy from Stephens College.

Winston Calvert, of University City, was appointed to the Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District.

Mr. Calvert manages a private consulting firm providing solutions to the complex challenges business and nonprofit leaders face. He also serves as director of the Boy Scouts of America’s Greater St. Louis Area Council and Heat Up St. Louis Inc. Mr. Calvert has worked as an attorney at Armstrong Teasdale LLP, as chief executive officer of Community Impact Network, and as chief of staff to the St. Louis County Executive. Mr. Calvert holds a Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Music from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale.

Ed Elder, of Kansas City, was appointed to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

Mr. Elder currently serves as president of Colliers in Kansas City. He previously served as treasurer for the Kansas City Missouri Police Foundation and is a board member of the Kansas City Area Development Council, University of Kansas Cancer Funding Partners, and United Way of Greater Kansas City. Mr. Elder holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Kansas State University.

Dr. Tawni Ferrarini, of St. Charles, was appointed to the State Board of Education.

Dr. Ferrarini currently serves as professor of economic education at Lindenwood University. She previously served as professor and director of economic education and entrepreneurship for Northern Michigan University. Dr. Ferrarini has been a member of the National Association of Economic Education since 2000 and has numerous peer reviewed publications. Dr. Ferrarini holds a Ph.D. in economics and a Master of Arts in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale.

Reverend Darryl Gray, of St. Louis, was appointed to the Missouri Workforce Development Board.

Reverend Gray currently serves as a pastor at Greater Fairfax Baptist Church and as a consultant at Gray and Gray Associates LLC. He further serves as a political advisor for the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition and as chair of the St. Louis Detention Facilities Oversight Board. Reverend Gray holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Benedict College and completed two years of study toward a Bachelor of Theology and Religious Studies and a Masters of Science in divinity from McGill University.

Tracy Henke, of Chesterfield, was appointed to the Missouri Workforce Development Board.

Ms. Henke currently serves as deputy executive director and COO of St. Louis Regional Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center (AMICSTL). Her extensive career spans roles such as chief policy officer and president of Chamber/STL at Greater St. Louis Inc., legislative director for former U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, and various leadership positions within the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Henke holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Missouri–Columbia.

Dr. Daniel Isom, of St. Louis, was appointed to the Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District.

Dr. Isom currently serves as vice president of safety, security, and crisis management for Ameren. He previously served as interim director of public safety for the City of St. Louis in 2021 and as police commissioner for the City of St. Louis from 1988-2013. Dr. Isom holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He further holds a Master of Arts in public administration from Saint Louis University and a Bachelor of Arts in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Tammy Kirchner, of Memphis, was appointed as the Scotland County Clerk.

Ms. Kirchner currently serves as interim Scotland County Clerk. She previously served as deputy county clerk. Ms. Kirchner holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

Lyda Krewson, of St. Louis, was appointed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Ms. Krewson previously served as mayor of the City of St. Louis from 2017-2021 and as an alderman for the City of St. Louis from 1997-2017. Ms. Krewson holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Missouri–St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science in education, psychology, and special education from Truman State University.

Dudley McCarter, of Clayton, was appointed to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Mr. McCarter has served as a principal of Behr, McCarter, Neely & Gabris, P.C. since 1992 and as a member of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education since 2019. Mr. McCarter also served in the United States Army Reserves from 1972 – 1980, receiving an honorable discharge at the rank of captain. He previously served as president of the Missouri Bar Association and is a current fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Mr. McCarter further serves on Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital’s Foundation Board. Mr. McCarter holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri–Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

Emmet Pierson, Jr., of Kansas City, was appointed to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority.

Mr. Pierson currently serves as president and CEO of Community Builders of Kansas City. He further serves as a board member of the University of Missouri – Kansas City Board of Trustees and the Illinois Facilities Fund. Mr. Pierson previously served as owner and principal of North 40 Development LLC., and served two terms as commissioner of Port KC. Mr. Pierson holds a Bachelor of General Studies in human biology from the University of Kansas.

Jerel Poor II, of Bonne Terre, was appointed to the Administrative Hearing Commission.

Mr. Poor currently serves as circuit judge for the 24th Judicial Circuit. He previously served as a technical assistant and attorney at JEDMED Instrument Company in St. Louis. Mr. Poor holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater and a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University and a Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University.

Dr. Thomas Prater, of Springfield, was appointed to the State Board of Education.

Dr. Prater currently serves as a partner physician at Mattax, Neu, and Prater Eye Center in Springfield. He is a member of the Missouri State Medical Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He previously served on the Springfield City Council representing Zone 2. Dr. Prater holds a Doctor of Medicine from Washington University’s School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Southern Methodist University.

Ronda Schell, of Kansas City, was appointed to the Missouri Parole Board.

Ms. Schell has served as a special agent with the FBI since 2004. She has worked on several investigations and projects from bank robberies and human trafficking to high profile counterterrorism investigations, including evidence identification in trial preparation for Saddam Hussein. Ms. Schell holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and a Master of Forensic Science from Nebraska Wesleyan University.   

Jason Schott, of Ste. Genevieve, was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Disability.

Mr. Schott currently serves as chief deputy for the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department. He further serves as president of the Eastern Missouri Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates and as a board member of the Ste. Genevieve County 911 Tax Emergency Services Board, the Ozora TIF Commission and the Ste. Genevieve City Business TIF Commission. He previously served as president of the Ste. Genevieve County Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Schott holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Lindenwood University.

Louise Secker, of Joplin, was appointed to the Missouri Community Service Commission.

Ms. Secker currently serves as a realtor for the Carlin Team at Keller Williams Realty, Inc. She previously served as development director for Lafayette House in Joplin. Ms. Secker is a board member of the Joplin Regional Community Foundation and the Jasper County Court Appointed Special Advocates. Ms. Secker holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Westminster College.

Whitney Smith, of Des Peres, was appointed to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Ms. Smith served 11 years with the Boeing Company in St. Louis. She holds a Master of Arts in Russian studies from the European University and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Miami University.

Dr. Tony Taylor, of Raytown, was appointed to the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.

Dr. Taylor currently serves as owner of Practical Project Solutions LLC., and as a member of the part-time adjunct faculty pool for Avilla University, Baker University, MidAmerica Nazarene University, University of Phoenix, and the University of Saint Mary. Dr. Taylor holds an Associate of Arts in computer science from Longview Community College, a Bachelor of Science in management and computer information systems from Park University, a Master of Business Administration from MidAmerica Nazarene University, and a Doctor of Management in organizational leadership and information technology from the University of Phoenix.

Jessica White, of Mayview, was appointed as the Lafayette County Clerk.

Ms. White currently serves as logistics coordinator, dispatch manager, and driver pay manager for TruckMovers.com. She further serves as secretary and treasurer for the Mayview Fire Protection District and as president of the Mayview Fire Ladies Auxiliary. Ms. White holds a Bachelor of Science in public relations from the University of Central Missouri.

Kimathia Wright, of Maryville, was appointed to the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.

Ms. Wright currently serves as chair of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) KC Adult Wellness Center. She previously served as office assistant for Metropolitan Community College – Longview. 

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