March 26, 2014

WASHINGTON- U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.; U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill.; and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash. have been named the 2013 Legislators of the Year by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). Only four lawmakers, a Democrat and Republican from both the House and Senate, are recognized each year for their exemplary commitment to developing smart policies that spur innovation and strengthen our nation’s economy.

“Each of these lawmakers have demonstrated that they are true leaders and partners in igniting innovation,” said ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield. “Their keen focus on some of the most significant challenges we face in the tech sector like improving cybersecurity, reforming our outdated patent system, and opening new markets to U.S. business through trade, has resulted in real wins for American innovation and the economy.”

Sen. Mark Udall is receiving the honor for his leadership on a variety of issues of importance to the tech sector. Always focused on producing results and doing what is right for the economy, Sen. Udall never shies away from tackling challenging issues like energy, or tax and patent reform. Sen. Udall actively advocates for tax reform, working to improve our current tax code, which in its current form, gets in the way of job growth and inhibits our nation’s ability to attract investment to our shores. Recently, Sen. Udall demonstrated his ability to bridge the partisan divide in working with Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio to issue a bipartisan letter urging Senate leadership to pass meaningful patent reform legislation this year in order to stop the abusive acts of patent trolls, who, with their frivolous lawsuits, kill jobs and businesses.

“Colorado’s innovation economy has been a model for the nation on how encouraging startups and tech firms can help create jobs and grow the middle class,” said Udall. “I’m honored by this award and will keep working closely with the high-tech industry to update federal patent laws and spur innovation, support further breakthroughs in the clean-tech economy, and finally bringing our tax code into the 21st century. You can be sure that I won’t stop fighting to support our abundant intellectual and technological resources that will help the United States win the global economic race.”

“Senator Mark Udall stands out as a bold leader who not only understands how good policy drives technology and innovation, but he also knows how to get the job done,” said ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield. “We commend Senator Udall for his bipartisan efforts to create policies that save and create jobs in his home state of Colorado and across the nation.”

“Mark Udall is a true leader for the technology sector in Congress. He not only understands our industry and the complex policy challenges we face, he is willing to step out and take a stand for our priorities,” said Jason Mahler, Vice President for Government Affairs at Oracle, an ITI member company.

Sen. John Thune has worked tirelessly across the aisle to develop legislation to bolster U.S. ingenuity and the economy. As Republican Conference Chair; Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and during his tenure on the Senate Finance Committee, he has consistently made innovation and technology issues a top priority for Senate leadership. Sen. Thune introduced the Digital Trade Act, putting a legislative focus on the growing importance of digital trade to the future of the U.S. economy and the need to address these issues in all international venues. Sen. Thune also introduced, and ushered through Committee, The Cybersecurity Act of 2013, a pivotal piece of bipartisan cyber legislation that highlights the importance of the role of public-private partnerships in increasing cybersecurity.

“I am honored to be recognized by ITI for my efforts in advancing technology policy. Every part of American life is affected by the tech sector, whether it’s farmers planting their crops more efficiently using precision planting technology, doctors treating patients remotely over broadband connections, or even kids learning and doing their homework today. Technological innovation is not a partisan issue, which is why I have worked hard to reach across the aisle whenever possible, like on my digital trade and cybersecurity bills. There is still plenty that Congress can do in the tech space, and I am committed to finding bipartisan solutions to ensure this innovation continues to drive our economy long into the future,” said Thune.

“Senator John Thune has been a strong champion of policies that foster economic dynamism, innovation, and competitiveness for the tech sector,” said ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield. “He has, time and again, reached across the aisle to build consensus and advance milestone pieces of legislation that ensure businesses in South Dakota, and across the U.S., stay successful in this changing economy.”

“Cybersecurity has become a vital economic and security issue, and as Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Senator Thune has advanced strong bipartisan solutions with an innovative and cooperative approach between the private sector and the federal government,” said James Hayes, Senior Director at EMC, an ITI member company.

Rep. Peter Roskam has been a true champion for the tech industry since first being elected to Congress in 2006. As Chief Deputy Whip, Rep. Roskam also sits on the Ways and Means Committee where he was instrumental in the passage of key free-trade agreements that have opened new markets and created jobs in the U.S. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, Rep. Roskam has led the dialogue in Congress to foster a stronger understanding of the benefits of trade and investment between the U.S. and India.

“Now more than ever, Congress must work to promote policies that ensure American companies can compete on a global scale, selling their goods and services abroad and creating jobs here at
home. Together, we can take important steps forward in order to build a 21st century economy based on innovation and opportunity. I want to thank the Information Technology Industry Council for the honor of this award, and for their continued commitment to American competitiveness,” said Roskam.

“As Chief Deputy Majority Whip, Congressman Roskam has kept the priorities of the tech industry at the forefront of the legislative agenda in the House,” said ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield. “Whether it’s opening new markets, tax reform, or modernizing our outdated patent system, Congressman Roskam understands the tech economy and how fostering innovation and economic growth will lead to job creation in Illinois and across the nation.”

“Congressman Roskam is a true advocate for the tech community, and we’re pleased he has been selected as ITI Legislator of the Year,” said Robert Hoffman, Vice President of Global Government Affairs at Motorola Solutions, an ITI member company. “As the Chief Deputy Whip, his leadership on tax and trade issues, as well as his support for an agenda that enables U.S. companies such as Motorola Solutions to be more competitive globally, make him a great ally for our industry.”

Rep. Rick Larsen has been an outspoken advocate for the tech industry and its role in economic growth and innovation since being elected to Congress in 2000. The congressman has brought a pragmatic, problem-solving voice to Congress, and has amplified that approach through his leadership in the New Democrat Coalition. His work on global trade issues, and in particular his leadership as co-chair of the U.S.-China Working Group, has been instrumental in building relationships with key trading partners and in educating his colleagues on these issues. These efforts fostered relationships in the Pacific Northwest and the rest of the country to help advance and grow the economic opportunities of our businesses in the Asia-Pacific. Over the past year, Rep. Larsen has taken an even larger role in addressing many of the tech industry’s top congressional priorities, including introducing legislation to allow tech companies to inform the public how many orders they receive from the government to release customer data, supporting the Innovation Act and patent reform, and supporting the Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act.

“Technological innovation is essential to the success of many industries in my district, from aerospace manufacturing to transportation. Continued progress in these industries requires clear policy on issues like patents to ensure small businesses get protection for their ideas, as well as robust relationships with growing economies such as China. I am pleased to receive this award from ITI and will continue to support initiatives that promote innovation and strengthen global relationships to advance economic opportunity locally and across the country,” said Larsen.

“Congressman Larsen’s service to the residents of Washington state, and the tech community, with its enormous presence in the state, has earned him this distinguished honor,” said ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield. “He has worked to promote trade policies that help businesses – large and small - export their products and services creating jobs here at home.”

“Microsoft is delighted that one of our ‘home-state’ representatives, Rick Larsen, is the recipient of the ITI’s 2013 Legislator of the Year Award,” said Fred Humphries, Vice President for U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft, an ITI member company. “From protecting intellectual property rights to addressing market access and rule of law issues in China and emerging markets, Representative Larsen has consistently championed policies that support American businesses and create jobs.”

About ITI:

ITI is the premier advocacy and policy organization for the world’s leading innovation companies. ITI navigates the relationships between policymakers, companies, and non-governmental organizations, providing creative solutions that advance the development and use of technology around the world. To learn more about ITI, follow @ITI_TechTweets or visit itic.org