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Rep. Miles: internet accessibility must be a priority

On Monday morning, Representative Tom Miles joined The Gallo Show to talk about the need to expand broadband accessibility across the state of Mississippi.

“When you’re from a rural area like I’m from and most of the state is from, you know that is the concern,” Miles, who represents District 75, said. “The thing we need to focus on in the legislature is making sure everyone has good internet in these rural areas.”

Recently, the state of Mississippi was granted $1.25 billion under the CARES Act, and the legislature has been working to compose a disbursement plan for that federal relief money. As of last week, chamber leaders announced that $300 million would go towards small businesses of Mississippi, however, the other $950 million is still in limbo.

According to Miles, the legislature is, in fact, prioritizing education, they simply have to figure out the proper route of funding.

“I think everybody at the capitol is on board with getting this done,” Miles said. “It’s just the way we go about getting it done. It’s about how we can get it there the fastest. We don’t care if it’s cellular, we don’t care if it’s through the EPAs or through the cable companies or through the phone companies, we just want to get it there and quit talking about getting it done and getting it actually done.”

Although COVID-19 has forced schools to close and move to a remote learning style, Miles thinks the pandemic has shed light on the inadequacy of state testing.

“The one thing out of this pandemic has shown that state testing doesn’t have to be a way of life,” Miles said. “A lot of this will bring old arguments back and help prove our point in the future that we should continue to look at the ACT and cut down on the excessive testing. They were able to exempt a lot of this state testing because…they [state tests] are not required by the federal law for graduation requirements.”

Miles and the rest of the Mississippi Legislature will reconvene after Memorial Day. To watch his full interview, use the video below.

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