Newly-elected Fifth District Missouri State Representative Louis Riggs of Hannibal is eager to help residents of his district have broadband internet connections, which would provide better access to healthcare and other needs.

Newly-elected Fifth District Missouri State Representative Louis Riggs of Hannibal is eager to help residents of his district have broadband internet connections, which would provide better access to healthcare and other needs.

Broadband is a form of high-speed internet. It is a high-capacity transmission system using a wide range of frequencies, which enables a large number of messages to be communicated simultaneously.

Telemedicine — provided by broadband access — would be a big advantage, Riggs said. “With telemedicine, you can get on a computer and the doctor does a diagnosis on computer. It is cheaper and better” healthcare, and the patient could remain at home.

Riggs said that the state legislature is working to increase broadband access.

“I want to update the area,” he said of his rural district. “The problem is young people grow up and leave home and don't come back. We have the ability to educate our students, and they need to be equipped to find good jobs, so they don't have to leave. Broadband would pick up everybody and put us on a level playing field with Kansas City and St. Louis.”

On election night, Riggs, a Republican, and his supporters celebrated his victory over Joe Frese. “I appreciate the support and am proud of having had a positive issue-oriented campaign,” he said. “I got to know people in three counties.”

Riggs' first goal will be to continue to achieve some of outgoing State Rep. Lindell Shumake's goals, such as providing a new home for military veterans. “We have a lot folks out there who need a home,” Riggs said. “We should not have homeless veterans.”

One challenge facing Riggs will be “getting to know all the new freshmen who will be coming in.”

Riggs is an associate professor of English at Hannibal-LaGrange University, a position he plans to continue part-time, because the legislature meets from January to May.

Although becoming a state representative is Riggs' first elected office, he has been involved in community agencies, such as the park board.

Riggs said he is “looking forward to representing the citizens of the district,.”

bev.darr@courierpost.com