Senator Wicker takes gavel in Commerce Committee with an eye on expanding rural broadband

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Mississippi’s senior senator says he is putting Mississippians front and center on Capitol Hill. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) is taking over the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He says his new position will allow him to highlight work being done back home.

Wicker laid out the rules Wednesday in addition to priorities for the committee.

His new chairmanship gives him oversight for things like space and aviation, the Internet, communications and transportation infrastructure. While an infrastructure overhaul is something he thinks will be possible in a divided Congress one of his main focuses for this committee is expanding rural broadband.

“Data is critical to delivering broadband to rural communities that lack service,” said Wicker.

He says broadband is something people from his state can speak to. He floated the idea of Mississippians testifying.

“There’ll be members coming from the state of Mississippi for a number of hearings. I can’t say specifically which ones,” said Wicker.

Wednesday’s opening hearing was more of a meet and greet for the committee. As for the first substantive hearing, Wicker expects the issue of consumer privacy to be addressed.