Kaine makes virtual visit to western Virginia

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 10:38 PM EDT
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Retired math teacher Cheryl Fulton says the lack of reliable high-speed internet in her Pittsylvania County community is an emotional issue.

"I'm not able to help and aid members in the community who are struggling with their children with the virtual learning," Fulton told Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) Tuesday morning. "I can't even help my former students because of no connections."

Fulton drove 17 miles to her sister's house to join Kaine and more than two dozen others for a virtual discussion on rural broadband.

Later, Kaine told reporters the issue has been climbing higher on his list of priorities.

"Broadband to me is now the equivalent of, you turn on a light switch in your house and you want the lights to go on, or when you open the faucet you want water to come out of it," Kaine said. " It is a necessity of life for education, for health, for work."

Kaine is taking on a variety of issues related to the COVID-19 response and talking with a number of different constituencies during a two-day series of video conference calls focused on western Virginia.

He said he wants to know what we need to improve, what the next round of relief should look like and what we should continue to do once this crisis is over.

"I don't talk to anyone who has not been directly affected," Kaine said of COVID-19. "And I'm just hoping the combined weight of these calls this week will make me a better advocate when we're back in DC next week for the next piece of legislation."

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