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Broadband Heros

Joy Padgett

Friday January 31, 2014

Joy Padgett, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, has been selected as Connect Ohio’s newest Broadband Hero awardee. Padgett was recognized by Connect Ohio at the state quarterly Technology Association Meeting January 31 in Columbus for her efforts in helping to foster high-speed broadband expansion to unserved and underserved homes and businesses in the Appalachian Ohio region.


Padgett, a native of Coshocton, has dedicated her life to public service. As a teacher for 20 years, former director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, and State Representative and State Senator from the 20th district, she has worked tirelessly to improve access to broadband throughout Appalachian Ohio.


“Joy held a vision for the importance of broadband technologies before the technology was even widely used,” said Bart Winegar, Connect Ohio technical outreach manager.


“Joy has worked tirelessly over the last 10 years to increase broadband access in Appalachian Ohio. She continues to work on this issue because of the impact broadband access has on Appalachian businesses and families,” said Jason Wilson, director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia and Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative co-chair. 


Padgett has advocated for expanding broadband throughout her career. In 2001, as Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, she commissioned the first “Access Appalachia” study, which identified the digital divide that was occurring in Appalachian Ohio. This study continues to serve as a basis for improving access in the region.  While serving in the Ohio Senate, she created the “transportation counts” initiative, which included a focus on increasing broadband access.  As a former teacher, she understands the impact broadband access has for families and local businesses in the region.


In 2011, Padgett joined the Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative taskforce, serving as the education chair. She has provided valuable input to the taskforce. Through her work with the Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiative, more than 20,000 Appalachian Ohio households gained first-time access to the Internet.


Connect Ohio thanks Joy Padgett for championing broadband use throughout Appalachia and her assistance with Ohio’s technological developments.