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Virginia's Senatorial Candidates Address NVTC Members at Technology Town Hall Forum

Virginia’s candidates for U.S. Senate George Allen and Tim Kaine joined co-hosts NVTC and Microsoft on Thursday, June 28, for a technology town hall forum at Microsoft’s Reston offices. In front of an audience of more than 160 technology business leaders, the candidates shared their views on business and technology issues facing the country and what they would do to encourage innovation and growth if elected to the Senate.

During the forum, the candidates provided remarks and answered questions from a panel of business leaders including NVTC Vice Chairman Jim Sheaffer of CSC, NVTC TechPAC Chairman Dendy Young of McLean Capital and Fred Humphries of Microsoft U.S. Government Affairs. Each candidate shared their views on topics such as sequestration, Internet sales tax, repatriation of foreign earnings, insourcing, immigration, cybersecurity, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Gov. Tim Kaine shares his views on technology and business policy during the Technology Town Hall Forum.
Gov. Tim Kaine shares his views on technology and business policy during the Technology Town Hall Forum.

In his remarks, Gov. Kaine explained how he would take the lessons he learned as governor of Virginia to the national level, with three primary areas of focus: talent, infrastructure and fiscal stewardship. He believes the path to the country’s fiscal stability will include spending cuts balanced with increased revenue, citing his record of leaving Virginia with a smaller general fund budget than when he began his term as governor. Gov. Kaine also expressed his desire to partner with his Republican counterparts in the Senate to find compromise on important issues, similar to the Gang of Six, because Virginians expect their senators to be part of the process. On the topic of immigration, he stated his support of the DREAM Act and the need for visa reform.

Gov. George Allen shares his views on technology and business policy on June 28.
Gov. George Allen shares his views on technology and
business policy on June 28.

Speaking to the attendees, Gov. Allen discussed how his previous experience in the Senate, including bipartisan efforts opposing Internet taxation, promoting cybersecurity and funding nanotechnology research, reflect his technology focus. He shared elements of his “Blueprint for America’s Comeback,” including the need to establish a more competitive tax policy, make regulations more reasonable and unleash the country’s energy resources. Gov. Allen also explained the importance of instituting a balanced budget amendment and line item veto as part of a long-term solution to the country’s fiscal issues. Discussing immigration, he expressed his support for providing green cards to foreign students with jobs waiting for them when they graduate from American universities with science and engineering degrees.

Both Allen and Kaine agreed that encouraging more American students to study STEM fields or pursue a technical trade will be crucial to our nation’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. Gov. Kaine favors a comprehensive approach including early childhood and K-12 education, workforce training, immigration reform and support for returning veterans in order to develop the talent needed to continue to innovate. Gov. Allen discussed the importance of encouraging interest in STEM careers and trades starting in middle school and providing all Americans access to the education and training they need to succeed in technical fields, particularly stating the need to provide adequate technology infrastructure to minority-serving institutions.

Following the panel Q&A, each candidate responded to audience questions before his concluding remarks. Both candidates further addressed STEM education needs, and answered questions about taxes, social security and retirement. Gov. Kaine also answered questions about immigration, the DREAM Act and differentials in security clearance, while Gov. Allen answered questions about health care and sequestration.

Tim Kaine

George Allen

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