Virginia Senate Candidates Sen. Mark Warner and Ed Gillespie Address NVTC Members at Technology Town Hall Forum

During the forum moderated by NVTC Chair Sudhakar Kesavan of ICF International, the candidates provided remarks and answered questions from a panel of business leaders consisting of Fred Humphries of Microsoft and NVTC Board members Al Grasso of The MITRE Corporation and Marta Wilson of Transformation Systems Inc. Each candidate shared their views on cybersecurity and privacy; federal spending and sequestration; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; tax and regulatory reform; veterans employment and other issues important to the technology and business community.

Tech Town Hall.
From left: NVTC Chair Sudhakar Kesavan of ICF International, Ed Ingle and Fred Humphries of Microsoft, NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, candidates Sen. Mark Warner and Ed Gillespie, and NVTC Board members Marta Wilson of Transformation Systems Inc. and Al Grasso of MITRE at the NVTC Sen. Candidates' Tech Forum on Sept. 8 at Microsoft in Reston.

Ed Gillespie, who took the stage first, began his remarks by emphasizing the need to grow Virginia’s economy, and continued the theme throughout his time on stage. In addition to ending economic uncertainty and stimulating growth, Gillespie discussed the need to balance security and surveillance, practice bipartisanship, and ensure that higher education meets Virginia’s future workforce needs. Calling insourcing damaging to the country, he promoted the "yellow pages test" to determine whether a service was inherently governmental or readily available in the private sector. Gillespie also expressed his support of the federal R&D tax credit and credentialing programs to promote veterans employment in the private sector.

In his remarks, Sen. Warner highlighted his bipartisan work in the Senate, including sponsoring the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 and the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA). Calling the debt and deficit the single biggest threat to our nation, he stressed that Congress needs to revisit both and tackle both taxes and entitlement reform in a “grand bargain.” Warner also discussed his work on veterans’ employment, referencing the need for better skills training and certification options for veterans entering the civilian workforce. He also emphasized the importance of STEM education starting in middle school and suggested students should be taught coding and other critical skills.

During separate Q&A sessions with the audience, Gillespie and Warner answered questions relating to cybersecurity, federal funding and research, STEM education, immigration, government insourcing, veterans employment, privacy and surveillance, and a permanent R&D tax credit.