I do a lot of plane landings…in many places. But I will say that one of the most beautiful landings of all is here in Kentucky at the Lexington Blue Grass Airport. The slow descent brings you over pastures of green as far as your eye can see, ringed by white fences and if you’re lucky enough from the air, you can see the horses milling about their playground. And then you really know that you’re in Kentucky because you are greeted by the Kentucky Bourbon shop before you can exit the secured part of the airport (that eliminates any concerns on TSA liquids!).
But another key distinguisher that you’re in Kentucky is hanging with a group of RLECs for their spring meeting. Folks in Kentucky are incredible engaged and politically active and have a really high energy state association executive, Tyler Campbell, who joined the association about three years ago and has worked hard to maintain the leadership position that Kentucky has held in the industry.
Tyler was really gracious about working with me the last few months to ensure that I could share some thoughts with his 200 plus attendees and still get to fully enjoy Kelsey’s graduation celebrations – a win-win! And then the travel gods were kind and every flight yesterday- from my start leaving my house before 5 am through a dash through Charlotte (and giving Carri Bennet from Womble and RWA fame a fright yelling greetings as I ran past her in an airport a few hundred miles away from our homes!) and made it to Lexington in time, thanks to Jeff Yarbrough, to roll into the KTA meeting and share some updates on what is happening on the USF front, spectrum initiatives, call completion next steps, the discord with the final formulation of the Farm Bill among other initiatives. Given that I was the luncheon speaker, I was also delighted to see that some wonderful selections of chocolate cake were offered up because I knew that chocolate rush would carry folks through anything I had to say about happenings in Washington DC!
Catching up with Hilda Legg, former RUS Administrator and now Rural Development Director for the state of Kentucky was an added bonus since there is much work to do in the days ahead together on the USDA funding for broadband and I’ve always welcomed Hilda’s pragmatic approach and her support of ensuring that rural utilities to their best to utilize their strengths for the benefit of rural Americans. Andy Johns from WordSouth was also at the meeting and we exchanged thoughts on how to continue to help and encourage the rural broadband providers in the state share their stories of success as well as the challenges that they are facing.