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Forum News Service, Published November 26 2013

Dayton names broadband leader

ST. PAUL – Cook County’s information systems director will become the Minnesota Broadband Office executive director.

Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday named Danna MacKenzie to that post, charging her with the job of planning stateside broadband Internet efforts. She has worked in the field 18 years, most recently in the Cook County position in Grand Marais since 1998.

MacKenzie has been a member of several local and statewide broadband committees.

“Danna is an outstanding choice, with the leadership skills and experience to direct broadband growth in the state,” Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said.

Sieben’s office said that broadband – or high-speed Internet access – is considered a key economic development tool.

State economic development officials say broadband gives rural areas similar chances for many advancements that big cities enjoy. And companies that are looking to move or expand often will not consider locations without good broadband connections.

The Legislature this year established the job MacKenzie is taking to coordinate broadband infrastructure development, plan strategy, find federal funding for expansion, recommend policies to improve access and report on progress.

MacKenzie grew up in the Twin Cities and has a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and leadership from Concordia University in St. Paul.