MADISON, Wis. -- Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Barron) released the following statement regarding Senator Janet Bewley (D-Mason) repeating claims about broadband funding that have been proven wrong:
Democrats like to claim Governor Walker rejected federal money for broadband expansion, and that hurt rural Wisconsin students and families. However, we know that this is false. Wisconsin uses a public- private partnership model to make sure that everyone has a stake in our development, and the federal rules prohibited us from using federal money on partnership projects.
All the way back in February of 2016 I debated Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, explaining to him that this talking point was wrong. I even showed him testimony from the Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Telecommunication Association, explaining why taking the funds was never an option, regardless of who was Governor.
In May of 2017, Senator Bewley jumped on the band wagon and used the same false talking point. I called her out at the time, explaining again that she had her facts wrong. Better yet, just a few months later in August of 2017, PolitiFact published an article that confirmed that Walker could not accept the federal money. Even professor Barry Orton, a left-leaning retired professor of telecommunications policy at UW-Madison, agreed that this was true.
But Bewley hasn’t stopped. In fact, she used the same lie again just this week, in a quote to the Barron News-Shield.
Meanwhile, the last three budgets have increased funding for our state’s broadband expansion program. In fact, I authored the budget amendment that called for more than $15 million in funding for that program. Senator Bewley refused to vote for the budget, and thus voted against broadband funding.
It’s one thing to make a mistake if you do not have all the correct information, but a mistake quickly turns into a lie when you continue repeating something you know is not true. I’m calling on Senator Bewley for the last time: admit to our district that your claims are false, stop using them, and stop politicizing broadband access.