Dogwood award mug

Dean Arp

MONROE — State Representative Dean Arp (R-Union, District 69) was awarded a Dogwood Award by Attorney General John Stein on Tuesday (Nov. 23).

The Dogwood Award is given annually by the North Carolina Attorney General to those whose “work improved the quality of life for all members of their community.” There were 36 recipients of the award this year.

“As many North Carolinians faced challenges in the past year, other North Carolinians have used their time and energy to improve their neighbors’ lives,” Stein said in a statement. “It’s an honor for me to recognize this year’s Dogwood Award recipients — people whose contributions make us a stronger, safer state. I am so grateful for their efforts.”

Arp was given an award for his work in increasing internet access across the state — especially in rural areas. In May, Arp — along with fellow representatives Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) and Jake Johnson (R-Polk) — filed the “G.R.E.A.T. Broadband Expansion Act” or House Bill 947. The bill passed unanimously in the North Carolina House.

Providing statewide internet access came at a proposed $750 million. A majority of the money ($400 million) comes from grants that would shrink the “digital divide,” as Arp describes.

The act budgets $340 million to provide internet access to either unserved or underserved populations. A remaining $12 million will reimburse customers for costs related to equipment that receive an internet signal.