Rep John Katko must support New York’s innovators and job creators by taking action to restore net neutrality

Constituents of New York’s 24th Congressional District meeting with Rep Katko’s office on September 10, 2018

By Elizabeth Schmitt, Educator, New York’s 24th Congressional District

Net neutrality is as crucial to New Yorkers as it is to Californians. And while the Golden State just passed the strongest state-level protections in the country, there is still something our federal representatives can do to ensure that the Internet remains free and fair for New Yorkers and Internet users across the country.

As a resident of Baldwinsville, I call on Rep. John Katko to sign the discharge petition for the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the FCC and protect net neutrality.

I have been an educator since 1995. Online education is a vital part of access for working adults, parents, and especially military families. It cannot happen without high-speed Internet. The throttling permitted by the FCC’s net neutrality repeal will hurt those families disproportionately.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are essentially monopolies and have repeatedly demonstrated they are unwilling to act in the interest of their customers or the public. Competition in our part of New York is especially limited. As essential as broadband access is, it is similarly essential to protect consumers and the diversity of ideas online.

The net neutrality issue is an egregious example of the triumph of big money over the wishes of voters. It is is overwhelmingly popular — 80% of voters (including 3 of 4 Republicans) support net neutrality. Yet the FCC (led by a former lawyer for Verizon) voted to destroy it. To add insult to injury, Mr. Pai then lied to the Senate, claiming that the FCC comment site was hacked when in fact it was overwhelmed with comments from citizens opposing his plan.

The CRA has passed the Senate with bipartisan support. The House must follow suit. A simple majority will allow a vote to restore net neutrality. Otherwise, moneyed interests will have once again effectively disenfranchised the American voters.

In 2017, Rep. Katko took over $47,000 in contributions from the ISP lobby. If they are able to buy off our representatives in the face of such overwhelming popular anger, I have to ask if our government is of, by and for the people or is it of, by and for Verizon and Spectrum executives?

Rep. Katko claims to be a reasonable, independent leader who puts the interests of his constituency over special interests. If that is true, he must sign the discharge petition. A refusal to do so is to transparently favor his big cable donors over the voters and military families in New York.

Rep John Katko must support New York’s innovators and job creators by taking action to restore net… was originally published in Demand Progress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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