In Charlotte on Thursday, Vice-President Harris talks access to affordable high speed internet, and access to abortion

Kamala Harris came to Charlotte to discus high speed internet in rural areas and abortion access.
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 4:19 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Access was the theme for Vice-President Kamala Harris in Charlotte on Thursday. Access to high-speed internet and access to abortion were the topics as Harris made her first visit to the Queen City since last December. Harris spoke at the Caroline Hoefener Center on Sixth Street in front of about 200 guests.

During her remarks, the Vice-President touted the administration’s Affordable Connectivity Program, saying that the plan that offers discounts to eligible Americans who need internet service has already saved ¼ of a billion dollars for working families. Her remarks followed the theme shared by local and state leaders.

Charlotte Mayor pro-tem Julie Eiselt outlined the vision for Charlotte when it comes to internet connectivity.

“The Charlotte City Council and our city staff are working with stakeholders across our community to make Charlotte the most digitally equitable city n America,” Eiselt said.

There was a slightly awkward moment when Governor Roy Cooper was mistakenly introduced as “Ray Cooper.” Cooper approached the podium, shrugged it off, and joked “you can call me Ray.”

Cooper then spoke on the efforts of the state when it comes to providing internet access. Earlier this week he announced $23 million in grants to provide broadband infrastructure and high speed internet to 12 North Carolina counties.

“We established our office of digital equity and literacy,” Cooper said, “the first of it’s kind in the country.”

“For so many of us, the internet is an essential part of our lives,” Vice-President Harris said, outlinging the particulars of the Affordable Connectivity Program.

“This program provides working families up to $30 per month off their internet bill, or $75 a month for those living on tribal lands, and it also gives families a one time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, a desktop computer, or a tablet,” Harris said. “We have been working with internet service providers to make sure they offer internet plans for $30 or less a month which means the vast majority of households can receive high speed internet without paying a dime.”

You can learn more about the ACP here.

The Republican Party responded to the message Harris presented. In a statement, Taylor Mazock, the North Carolina Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee said that Republicans have “already taken the lead on allowing rural communities access to reliable broadband.”

“A bipartisan bill, the Broadband for Rural America Act, was introduced by Republicans last year,” Mazock said. This legislation would authorizes $3.7 billion per year for critical rural broadband programs that focuses on rural and least-connected residents.”

After concluding her remarks about high speed internet access, she joined a roundtable of state and local leaders to discuss access to abortion in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade.

“To stand for a woman’s right to make one of the most intimate decision that she can make about her own life without government interference, to agree with the importance of her right and the ability to do that does not require you to abandon your faith,” Harris added.

The Vice-President also said that President Biden was doing well and working from home after testing positive for COVID. Biden is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, Harris added.

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