ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- When the next Minnesota State Legislative session begins in early January a St. Cloud senator will have the opportunity to lead one of the committees.

Democratic Senator Aric Putnam has been named the chair of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. Putnam says one priority will be improving access to broadband across the state.

It's an essential utility now, it's not a special or privileged thing.  It's not just for Netflix it's for life.  If we had parts of Minnesota that didn't have running water I think we'd do something about it, and that's kind of where we're at with broadband.

Putnam says he wants to spend the next several weeks prior to the start of the session meeting with as many different kinds of farmers as he can to see what they need to continue to do their jobs.

A lot of folks are selling their farms and they are getting out of the farm industry.  We need to think about ways to help people maintain their lifestyles as farmers.

Putnam says the rest of the members of his committee have not been named yet. This will be the first time he will serve in the role as a chairman. The DFL will have the majority in the senate during the next session.

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