Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
On Monday, April 2, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson took time out of a busy travel schedule to visit Madison for a town hall meeting in the Student Center at North Florida Community College. Sen. Nelson addressed several topics, primarily the expansion of broadband internet service and the re-instatement of Amtrak rail service in Madison.
After hurricane Katrina, Amtrak rail service between New Orleans and Jacksonville was halted due to damage to the rail lines. Local officials have been working to try and get service re-established. According to Sen. Nelson, there have been proposals made to re-establish passenger rail service from New Orleans to Orlando and from Mobile to Jacksonville.
Sen. Nelson also spoke of the need to expand broadband internet service to rural areas that are currently under-served. “A child in a rural area ought to have access to the same kind of information that a child in an urban area has with regard to the internet,” said Nelson. Both the re-establishment of Amtrak passenger rail service and the expansion of broadband internet service are part of a greater goal of infrastructure improvement that Sen. Nelson hopes to accomplish.
Prior to the town hall meeting, Sen. Nelson took a tour of Madison County Memorial Hospital. Sen. Nelson made a point to compliment the Madison community on the hospital. “I bet any other rural hospital in Florida would be very envious of this [hospital],” said Sen. Nelson.
After his opening comments, Sen. Nelson opened the floor for questions from the audience. Several of the local citizens present asked questions on topics ranging from agricultural issues to gun control. Sen. Nelson thanked those citizens for sharing their thoughts and questions.
From Madison, Sen. Nelson was going to Port St. Joe for a similar town hall meeting, and then his plans were to visit Eglin and Tyndall Air Force Bases before returning to Washington, D.C.