|JULY 6, 2010 --
National Grange President Ed Luttrell and Kansas State Grange President Roger Bostwick spoke on national and local issues during a press conference held June 10 at Way of the Cross United Methodist Church in Ozawkie, Kansas.
During a 36-state tour to visit local community Granges, Luttrell commended the Federal Communications Commission on their release of the National Broadband Plan. According to Luttrell, this plan will become the basis for a comprehensive public/private partnership that will finally ensure that the benefits of broadband technology are available in every home, farm, and small business in America, regardless of geographic location.
"It is evident from the FCC's recent study on broadband adoption that rural America still lags behind urban and suburban communities in home, farm, and small business broadband connections. Rural Americans stand to benefit from online applications like telemedicine, distance learning, and telework. In addition, the entire nation stands to gain from the economic and environmental benefits that integrating national, high-speed Internet with farming, tribal, and rural communities will bring," said Luttrell. Of non-adopters in rural areas, one in 10 say they cannot get broadband where they live--more than double the national average. Luttrell stressed that the National Grange believes deployment of broadband across the country, and especially in rural America, should be the federal government's No. 1 communications priority.
In November 2009 Luttrell of Sandy, Ore., was elected to his second two-year term as national Grange president. He has made rural access to affordable, reliable, and competitive telecommunications technologies a priority of his administration. "Rural America needs, and deserves, the same access to new telecommunications technology that has been afforded to our urban neighbors. The Grange believes national, state, and local laws that govern these technologies should remove the regulatory uncertainty that has deterred advanced telecommunications investment in rural America," he stated.
Roger Bostwick is a third generation Granger from Kansas. Roger currently serves as the president of Kansas State Grange and is also the assistant steward for the national Grange. One of Roger's favorite things about the Grange is the ritualistic work and the beauty and lessons contained in the degrees.
The Grange, founded in 1867 to help Civil War ravaged farmers recover, has today evolved to being our nation's leading rural advocacy organization, a major benefactor to local communities and, in many instances, the local social center with a safe, family-friendly atmosphere. It currently stands as the nation's oldest rural advocacy organization. The Grange has over 200,000 members in 2,700 communities spread over 40 states.