Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hillary News & Views 6.29.16: Technology Matters

Clinton speaking at Galvanize, Denver, CO, on June 28

Guest post by rugbymom

Hillary Clinton’s chosen theme for Tuesday was technology, and specifically the roll-out of a detailed program to promote high-tech economic development.  She began in Colorado, not coincidentally a battleground state where she has already committed $2.9 million in ad money during June. She chose as her venue the Galvanize Workforce Training Facility in Denver’s “Golden Triangle” neighborhood, a co-working space, start-up hub, and  coding school that, per the Denver Business Journal, helped “catalyze the burgeoning tech startup scene in the city core” since its founding in 2012. (There are now Galvanize sites in Boulder, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin and Phoenix, and the CEO, Jim Deters, told Clinton he hopes to establish one in her home state of New York.)

DENVER, CO - June 28: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets PanXchange CEO Julie Lerner, left, during a campaign stop at Galvanize June 28, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Clinton greets PanXchange CEO Julie Lerner, left, during a campaign stop at Galvanize June 28, 2016.
The substance of Clinton’s newly-announced policy was summarized by Politico:
Hillary Clinton is preparing to release a "technology and innovation" agenda . . .that strongly defends net neutrality, calls for a special commission to study encryption and commits to bringing broadband to 100 percent of U.S. households by 2020.
[T]he presumptive Democratic nominee wades into some of the most pressing issues facing Silicon Valley, from the future of surveillance to the treatment of Uber drivers. And she lays out her broad belief that new tools and services — from fitness trackers to self-driving cars — will “not only boost economic growth, [but] it will lead to immeasurable social benefits” in areas like health, education and energy. . . .
Many of Clinton's proposals correspond with initiatives she championed while secretary of state and priorities advanced during the Obama administration. But her platform also offers up some new ideas, like the appointment of a chief innovation adviser, who would aim to “reduce federal regulatory barriers” that face startups and larger tech companies, helping them ensure new medical devices, for example, can come to market more quickly.
Clinton would support dedicating new federal funds to research the world of digitally connected devices known as the Internet of Things. Her platform would also have federal agencies research how they can use such technologies to save money and improve their work.”
It also proposes a three-year deferral of student loan payments for entrepreneurs starting new companies, to relieve some of the debt burden that makes it hard to begin a new venture. The full proposal is available from Clinton’s The Briefing.
Clinton’s proposal got some immediate favorable coverage from Wired  (As an aside, how often does Wired cover a Presidential candidate in depth?):
[W]hile her sweeping suggestions may not appease security experts and others seeking specifics, the fact that Clinton has a tech agenda at all puts her ahead of just about everyone else in this presidential election cycle.”
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It’s little surprise that Clinton would embrace the tech industry and its issues. Silicon Valley is loaded with high-dollar donors, and last week, a slew of technologists including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Dropbox founder Drew Houston, Netflix founder Reed Hastings, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and others openly pledged support for Clinton. Meanwhile, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, who also announced his support, has backed startups that work with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic party.
Not that Trump lacks any Silicon Valley backing. Noted libertarian and billionaire investor Peter Thiel is Trump delegate. Still, it’s clear that Clinton, like President Obama before her, has the tech industry’s vote. Now, she’s also got their attention.
The Denver Post collected a wide range of favorable reactions to Clinton’s proposal
Her initiative spoke the language of local tech entrepreneurs, many who spend countless hours and personal funds to start a business.
“I wholeheartedly support her decision to defer an entrepreneur’s student loan debt, because I’ve lived it and it’s crippling,” said Lizelle van Vuuren, a serial entrepreneur who also founded the Women Who Startup organization. “We don’t have W-2’s to pay our bills plus our student loan debts, but we sure are creating jobs, and I think that’s a very interesting motivation to want to be an entrepreneur and support entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and value and more.”
Prominent entrepreneur and tech investor Brad Feld tweeted, “At first blush this looks excellent and substantive.”
Area entrepreneurs applauded Clinton’s attention to the tech industry’s woes. She wasn’t vague and put numbers on her goals: Train 50,000 computer-science teachers in the next decade; dedicate $10 billion in federal funding for new educational programs like coding schools and nanodegrees; and grow the technology workforce by reaching out to a more diverse community via a $25 billion fund to support colleges that service minority students.
“Higher education in America is broken and it seems that Hillary knows this …,” said Mike Gellman, founder of website developer Spire Digital. “Overall, I’m just happy to see such a rational and forward-thinking platform for technology and innovation from a politician. … If Hillary can make good on the promises she lays out in this document, I think we’re going to be a very productive country over the next eight years.”
Educating the future tech workforce has been a goal for many in the local tech industry, including Galvanize, which is part co-working space and part entrepreneur support hub, and provides tech-education classes. In its computer software courses, Galvanize adds an entrepreneurial bent to train developers on what startups really need.
Galvanize co-founder Jim Deters said Clinton’s campaign reached out to them for Tuesday’s visit. Announcing the technology initiative was a bonus, he said.
* * * * *
While Clinton touched on cybersecurity and privacy, some felt her position on privacy is unclear. In her initiative, she “rejects the false choice between privacy interests and keeping Americans safe.”
“Much of what Hillary Clinton is proposing is relatively straightforward and necessary,” said Mark Turnage, president and CEO of OWL Cybersecurity in Denver. “However, one of the major questions to be answered by the next president is the correct balance between the cybersecurity industry’s focus on preserving individual privacy, and the US government’s law enforcement function.” . . .
Integrating these goals into reality won’t be easy, said Tom Higley, another long-time Denver entrepreneur currently working with 10 CEOs to create a health startup. “Many things in the initiative will be challenging. It will be difficult, for example, to do these things simultaneously: ‘Establish rules of the road to support innovation — rules that foster healthy competition, reduce barriers to entry, and effectively protect intellectual property,’ ” he said, quoting from Clinton’s proposal. “But those are the challenges that must be faced if a tech and innovation policy is to be comprehensive.”
Clinton’s visit had many startups excited and hopeful. And ultimately, this will benefit entrepreneurs, said Kate Waller, director of business development for the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, which helps startups get to the next level more efficiently.
“Talent development in the 20th century is of paramount importance. It requires universities, industry and political officials to work together,” Waller said. ” Anything anyone can do to move the dial is a good thing.”
While in Denver Clinton also attended a “Women for Hillary” fund-raiser at the  Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
From Denver, Clinton flew on to Los Angeles for a town hall with digital content creators, held at Neuehouse Hollywood, a co-working facility and social club on Sunset Boulevard. She then attended two fundraisers in the Los Angeles-area, one at the home of Napster co-founder Sean Parker and the second at the home of investor-philanthropist Marc Nathanson, founder of Falcon Cable. Per the Los Angeles Daily News:
Jack Pitney, political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, said the one-two punch of pushing technology and raising money was strategically smart on Clinton’s part as she looks to continue to coalesce support within the Democratic party.
“It’s a no-lose situation for her,” Pitney explained. “It appeals to the young, tech-savvy Bernie Sanders supporter, but Silicon Valley is a major source of campaign contributions.
In keeping with the high-tech theme, the entire Town Hall (almost two hours) was livestreamed and archived on YouTube:
While Clinton was presenting her technology plans, the major networks were focussed on the release of the massive (but entirely unsurprising) report from the Republican members of the House Benghazi committee. That was covered in multiple diaries yesterday, so if you want and can stand to read more about it, try these:
Hillary herself was asked about the report during her Denver appearance:

Here is Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-34 / VP short-list) calling the investigation “a partisan witch-hunt”:

Clinton and her superbly competent staff keep up with current events even when she’s on the road (or in the air). They quickly issued a thoughtful statement following the bomb explosions at the Istanbul Airport:

"All Americans stand united with the people of Turkey against this campaign of hatred and violence." —Hillary
Demonstrating her ability to multi-task and address multiple issues, Hillary personally tweeted condolences (with a link to policy initiatives) on the death Tuesday morning of Pat Summitt, the legendary coach of the champion Tennessee “Lady Vols” women's basketball team, who died at age 64 of early-onset Alzheimer's-type dementia:
Pat Summitt's record is legendary. Her work ethic—second to none. We need exactly that kind of commitment to end Alzheimer's. -H
She also continued her ribbing of her presumed Republican rival, without allowing him to distract her from her own agenda. During his speech on trade, in which he vigorously condemned outsourcing, she (or more likely her staff) tweeted this:
Today Clinton will be in San Francisco for a fund-raising lunch with Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Jamie Lee Curtis. It is heartening to see her on a steady pace of fund-raising and public appearances that garner positive press for her and for her policy priorities, especially in key general election states. She’s got this, with our help.
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(originally posted at Daily Kos)

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