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Q&A: Silicon Valley Congressman Talks Tech Industry Needs


When I was part of the first Obama administration as CIO for the U.S. Department of Transportation, I had many opportunities to interact with Congress. My impression of these interactions was very positive both on the Democratic and the Republican sides. However, today the approval of Congress is at an all-time low. As part of a new series of discussions with top government leaders for InformationWeek Government , I interviewed Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), whose congressional district covers most of Silicon Valley, to understand the role of Congress in growing the U.S. technology sector.

The interview reinforced for me the impression that Honda is a leader who not only is passionate about the technology industry, but also is taking concrete steps to support technology manufacturing and development in the U.S. I believe such support will come back to help government, with private sector initiatives like GOVonomy, which I’m involved with, that pilot emerging and innovative technology products from U.S. startups and growth companies for possible adoption in the $ 200 billion annual government IT marketplace. Here are excerpts from our interview.


Nitin Pradhan: What is the most important role of Congress in growing the technology economy?



Rep. Mike Honda: We need to undo the sequester for a whole host of reasons technology companies care about — to boost infrastructure investment which both creates jobs and helps the economy; to continue investing in research and development so we can lead in science and technology; and to educate the 21st century workforce. On a personal note, I introduced a bill to provide support to entrepreneurs at the most critical stage of their businesses’ growth through a 25% tax credit on the costs associated with building their first manufacturing facility in the U.S. The best ideas are still researched and developed in this nation, and this proposal stops offshoring before it ever starts.

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