Expanding high-speed internet statewide is a priority for Gov. Jay Inslee, who visited rural communities across the state this week to discuss broadband needs and solutions.
His three-day tour, which began last Wednesday, included stops in the Eastern Washington communities of Pomeroy, Pullman and Chewelah, the Central Washington communities of Quincy and Wenatchee and the coastal community of La Push on the Quileute Indian Reservation.
While in La Push, Inslee announced a memorandum of understanding with the Quileute Tribe, the state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission, and CenturyLink to bring broadband internet to the coastal community.
The memorandum of understanding with the Quileute Tribe, UTC and CenturyLink will bring high-speed internet to the tribe’s Lower Village, as well as to property outlined in the tribe’s Move to Higher Ground project. The project moves key parts of the community, including the tribal school and senior center, out of the tsunami risk zone.
The governor secured $800,000 for the project this year through UTC’s Qwest Performance Assurance Plan payment fund.
At the signing ceremony, Quileute Tribal Council Chairman Doug Woodruff said, “Broadband in our area will benefit many, including police officers, first responders, health clinics, our administration, schools, families and the Coast Guard.”
Before the signing Governor Inslee declared that La Push must be the most beautiful place in the state. After the signing of the agreement gifts were exchanged, the Governor presented Chairman Woodruff with a painting he had done of Mt. Rainier. Woodruff gifted the governor several baskets and Vince Penn gave Inlsee some canned smoked smelt. At the beginning of the ceremony Penn and several others also offered a prayer song.
As the ceremony was ending Penn presented the governor with small carved canoe from a young Quileute girl that was too shy to present it herself. The Governor called Tom Jackson to come forward and named him the Washingtonian of the Day, sighting Jackson’s work with youth.