To The Editor

Central Virginia is an amazing place to live. We are blessed with natural beauty and historical significance. However, many of our neighbors are struggling.

In much of the region, where we once had thriving industry and agriculture, there is now little economic growth or opportunity. Revitalizing our economy won’t happen overnight and won’t happen on its own. We must build for the future to attract business and industry back to our district. Our first step: Get our district connected.

Access to quality broadband is a necessity of modern life. The economic and social benefits of internet access are numerous. Communities without widespread broadband have less economic growth and higher unemployment. Individuals without a quality Internet connection cannot apply for jobs, and lack online career building tools and social media to connect them with employers.

Without Internet access, our children have limited access to critical educational resources and online homework, leaving them at a disadvantage. Broadband access in rural areas will expand telemedicine opportunities, giving our neighbors expanded access to doctors and medical information, as well as online veterans benefit information for those who have served our country.

Despite the undeniable benefits, our district is among the worst connected regions in the country. In the 5th District, only 37 percent of people have access to the FCC’s minimum defined speed for quality broadband, 25 mbps. Nationally, 90 percent of Americans have access to these speeds. Even rural regions nationwide are far more connected with 61 percent connected to high-speed broadband. We must do more to compete in an increasingly connected world.

Residents of Virginia’s 5th District have a right to the benefits of accessible broadband and we have the ability to make it happen. The FCC created the Connect America Fund to build broadband infrastructure in underserved regions. As residents of the 5th District, we have already paid federal taxes into this fund. I want to bring our money home. Without raising taxes a penny, we can revitalize our region’s economy and prepare it for our children’s futures.

Just as in broadband, status quo politics has failed us. Politicians more concerned with party politics than the people have ignored the problems of districts like ours for too long. My opponent represents more of the same; a career politician who is proud of his record of obstructionism and ideological extremism. We deserve better.

My name is Jane Dittmar. I am running for Congress to get this district back on track. I humbly ask for your vote on Nov. 8 so we can work together to create quality jobs, ensure a good education for our children, and improve our district’s future. Let’s get connected.

Jane Dittmar

Democrat nominee

U.S. 5th District