Secretary Perdue, Chairman Pai to join Stakeholders for Rural Broadband Forum

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, April 18, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will join organizations from across rural America for a conversation about expanding broadband access in rural America.

The “E-Connectivity Forum” is the kickoff event for a series of regional conversations designed to gather insights into solutions for bridging the digital divide.

The event and subsequent regional sessions are being organized by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Farm Foundation, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), and CoBank.


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
Rural Utilities Service Administrator Ken Johnson
Jannine Miller, USDA Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Infrastructure
Tennessee Telecommunications Association Executive Director Levoy Knowles
North Arkansas Electric Cooperative CEO Mel Coleman
Jim Matheson, CEO, NRECA
Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association
Thomas Halverson, President and CEO, CoBank
Sheldon Petersen, CEO, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. (CFC)
Joe Swedberg, Chairman of the Board, Farm Foundation

WHAT: E-Connectivity Forum and Kickoff Event


Whitten Patio, U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Jefferson Dr. SW
Washington, DC 20024

WHEN: Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 9:15 to 11:30 a.m

RSVP: RSVP required by 10 a.m. Tuesday by emailing

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.

Stephen Bell, NRECA, 571-205-7719
Jo Solonika, CoBank, 720-583-9180
Brad Captain, CFC, 800-424-2954
Mary Thompson, Farm Foundation, 630-601-4152
Kelly Wismer, NTCA, 703-351-2015