Broadband Internet in rural Minnesota is an “essential utility” — that’s what the Minnesota Farmers Union says it heard in 14 listening sessions across the state. Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith agrees. Smith says, “I think a lot of people in the State Capitol who are making decisions about who gets broadband and who doesn’t, don’t understand that those big tractors that are in the fields in Greater Minnesota are like mobile offices and computers.” Governor Mark Dayton is asking the legislature for 60 million dollars to expand broadband access in Greater Minnesota. House Republicans say only seven million is needed because private companies are making investments in broadband. Democrats respond sparsely-populated areas of the state are being left out.