These House Members Deserve the Tech Community’s Support

by Gary Shapiro

A lot is at stake in this year’s midterm elections. The elections could end with either party claiming control of the House of Representatives. But there are other issues to consider apart from party affiliation.

The technology industry is the crown jewel of the U.S. economy, supporting more than 15 million U.S. jobs and leading the world in innovation. Fortunately, a bipartisan group of younger House members has stepped up as voices for innovation and tech. Many of these relatively new members are now engaged in tight re-election races, and we need Washington to keep leaders like them. Among those incumbents who deserve your support:

Rep. Nanette Barragán — D-CA, 44th District: As a freshman member of Congress, Rep. Barragán actively engaged on tech issues, including speaking at CES® — the global stage for innovation — in Las Vegas. Representing several blue-collar communities in the Los Angeles area, she is focused on STEM education, diversity and job training initiatives in the tech industry.

Rep. Susan Brooks — R-IN, 5th District: A 2018 Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ Digital Patriot honoree, Rep. Brooks is an active tech advocate who focuses on broadband issues and women in tech. She co-founded Congress’ 5G Caucus and introduced a resolution supporting the deployment of 5G networks. As co-chair of the Women’s High Tech Coalition, she encourages young girls to participate in STEM programs and advocates for women’s involvement in technology policy.

Rep. Brooks serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the technology industry. Her attention to workforce development helps the industry plan for the jobs of the future.

Rep. Barbara Comstock — R-VA, 10th District: A member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, Rep. Comstock, a former attorney, has a pragmatic “get-things-done” approach to legislating. She chairs the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology, and introduced a resolution recognizing the importance of diversity in STEM fields.

Comstock is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which finds common-sense, bipartisan solutions to issues from health care reform to climate change.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo — R-FL, 26th District: Rep. Curbelo, another member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, has proven himself to be willing to stand up to leadership on immigration policy. He led the discharge petition in June that forced a vote on bills designed to protect “Dreamers” — young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Rep. Suzan DelBene — D-WA, 1st District: This former tech executive and 2017 Digital Patriot honoree brings real world experience to tech policy. A supporter of digital trade, she is also the co-chair of the Congressional Women’s High Tech Coalition and the Internet of Things Caucus and cosponsored the Wi-Fi Innovation Act to open access to unlicensed spectrum.

Rep. DelBene is a leader on privacy issues and has supported the Email Privacy Act, the Secure Data Act and the Surveillance Order Reporting Act. She works to ensure tech companies aren’t forced to choose between protecting their customers’ privacy and complying with government requests.

Rep. Jeff Denham — R-CA, 10th District: Rep. Denham is the outspoken voice America needs on immigration reform. In June, he introduced an immigration bill to address border security, family separation and a permanent solution for Dreamers. He has also been a supporter of the Department of Transportation’s new drone pilot program.

Rep. Will Hurd — R-TX, 23th District: A prominent tech voice in Congress, Rep. Hurd represents Texas’s 23rd congressional district, which stretches hundreds of miles from San Antonio to El Paso, along the U.S.-Mexican border. He has led the conversation in Washington on artificial intelligence and is a supporter of free trade. CTA honored him as a 2017 Digital Patriot thanks in part to his common-sense legislation to allow greater use of ridesharing by federal employees.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries — D-NY, 8th District: Rep. Jeffries’ Brooklyn district boasts a booming startup community and game-changing companies such as Kickstarter, MakerBot and Etsy. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, he has a history of bipartisanship and is a leader in the fight to eliminate patent trolls and improve our patent system. He played a critical role in the passage of the Innovation Act in the House and is a strong voice for the sharing economy.

CTA named Rep. Jeffries a 2018 Digital Patriot, and he also worked with tech companies on smart solutions to promote full representation in the tech industry.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy — D-FL, 7th District: Rep. Murphy is an up-and-coming leader on tech and business issues. With an impressive background as an entrepreneur and Department of Defense consultant, she brings practical experience to her role in Congress. She has made a point of building bipartisan relationships and worked closely with the tech industry to understand complex emerging technology issues, particularly how technology can be effectively used by government.

Rep. Murphy is an active member of the New Dems, the Problem Solvers Caucus and the Future Forum, a group of the youngest House Democrats with a focus on listening to millennials.

Rep. Erik Paulsen — R-MN, 3rd District: With nearly a decade of experience on the Hill, Rep. Paulsen now serves as co-chair of the Congressional Digital Trade Caucus, which promotes digital trade provisions in trade negotiations like NAFTA. His USTR letter explaining how tariffs on Chinese goods would increase consumer prices resulted in significant tariff codes on tech products being removed from the Section 301 list.

Reps. Tom Reed — R-NY, 23rd District and Josh Gottheimer — D-NJ, 5th District: This red-blue powerhouse team serves as co-chairs of the Problem Solvers Caucus, championing common-sense changes to House rules to foster greater opportunities for bipartisan solutions in policymaking.

These 12 House lawmakers have taken an active interest in the technology sector and have proven their support through legislation, education and policy leadership. With their help and the help of others in Washington, we can continue to grow our industry, fuel job creation and develop meaningful products and services that transform our lives for the better.

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and a New York Times best-selling author. His upcoming book, Ninja Future: Secrets to Success in the New World of Innovation, will be released December 31 and is available now for pre-order. His views are his own.