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March 12, 2019

Billboard Targets Lone Democratic Senate Net Neutrality Holdout

As the new net neutrality “Save the Internet” bill introduced by Democrats in the United States House and Senate last week received its first committee hearing on Tuesday, activists turned up the heat on the one Senate Dem who has yet to sign on to the bill. First-term Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema remains a holdout on the new neutrality legislation, and on Monday, the activist group Fight for the Future announced that it would crowdfund a billboard to be erected at "one of the busiest intersections in Phoenix, Arizona,” targeting Sinema over her lack of support for the bill. In a post to Twitter, the group revealed the proposed text of the billboard, which leads with the declaration, “Kyrsten Simena is Corrupt.” The billboard text then says, “She’s siding with corporate donors to kill net neutrality so you pay more for worse internet.” The group says that Sinema took “more than $130,000 in donations from Big Telecom while she served in the House of Representatives.”   OpenSecrets.org shows that  from 2011 to 2018, Sinema received $52,725 from Comcast, divided between donations from individual employees and political action committees (PACs). The OpenSecrets records also show a total of $1,238,739 in contributions from the communications and electronics industries combined, with more than 80 percent of that total coming from individual donations. As AVN.com has reported, when she was running for Congress in 2014, Sinema stated her unequivocal support for net neutrality. But within two years, her position appeared to have changed, when she was one of only five House Democrats to side with Republicans on a bill that prevented the Federal Communications Commission from regulating internet service provider rates. Other Democrats have not been as ambiguous, however. “Words like ‘net neutrality’ and ‘open internet’ don’t capture how central this issue is for our society. We are talking about what the country stands for,” said New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, at the Energy and Commerce Committee net neutrality hearing Tuesday. “We are talking about saving economic opportunity and innovation, saving our kid’s educational opportunities, and saving our democracy. It is that important. Without net neutrality—a free and open internet simply does not exist.” Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons 

 
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