Obama Letter to the Tech Community

NY Tech Meetup wrote to the Obama and Romney campaigns asking the candidates to respond to this prompt:

We are writing on behalf of our over 27,000 members and the rapidly growing New York technology community to ask for you to explain to our members how your policies in your second term as President would benefit the growth of New York start-up community and other start up entrepreneurs who are using 21st century tools to build 21st century businesses.

Here is how the President responded:

Dear Members of NY Tech Meetup:

Thank you for carrying forward the entrepreneurial spirit that makes us a nation of doers, dreamers and risk takers.  You understand that innovation and job creation occur when we make smart investments in infrastructure and technology and build an environment that encourages entrepreneurs to change the way we live and work.

Together we’ve used that bedrock American belief to recover and rebuild from the worst economic crisis in a generation.  Today, entrepreneurship is at record levels and the number of business startups is up almost 10 percent since my first year in office.  And this past Friday, we learned the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office.  As inventors, makers and thinkers you’ve helped get us here, believing that if anyone has a solid plan and is willing to work hard and play by the rules, we can turn any idea into something.

I believe it, too.  That’s why I’ve been laying the foundation for an economy built to last through investments in infrastructure and technology.  We’re expanding broadband networks to connect businesses large and small with markets around the world.  The health care law invests in our health IT infrastructure, improving the delivery and management of care.  Wall Street reform put a consumer protection cop on the beat, using technology to help consumers understand their rights when buying a home or using a credit card.

Across your government, we’ve used technology to bridge the offline and online divide to empower citizens and build a more participatory democracy.  On my first day in office I created the position of U.S. Chief Technology Officer so we can pursue new open data initiatives to unleash unprecedented volumes of government data related to energy, education, international development, public safety and other areas.  We’re unlocking our resources to fuel new products, companies and industries and connect the next generation of entrepreneurs to freely available government data, while rigorously protecting and respecting privacy rights.  And we recently announced the first class of “Presidential Innovation Fellows,” talented private sector innovators who will spend six months in Washington partnering up with the government’s top innovators to meet straightforward goals: improve the lives of the American people, save taxpayer dollars and fuel job creation across the country.

This past April, I also signed a law to help high-growth entrepreneurs and small businesses harness “crowdfunding” to raise capital consistent with investor protections and make it easier for young, high-growth firms to go public.  I also launched the Startup America Partnership to improve the environment for high-growth entrepreneurship across the country.  I encourage you to join, as we’re focusing on unlocking access to capital to fuel startup growth, connecting mentors and education to entrepreneurs, accelerating innovation from “lab to market” for breakthrough technologies and unleashing market opportunities in industries like health care, clean energy and education.

I signed patent reform into law to help American entrepreneurs bring inventions to market sooner, leading to new businesses, jobs and industries.  But that also depends on a regulatory system that supports our homegrown innovations.  That’s why I’ll continue to stand by you to protect the openness of the Internet while still enforcing intellectual property rights.

But investments in human capital remain our strongest economic asset. We have a start-up visa program that’s allowing foreign entrepreneurs to establish businesses in America and create American jobs.  And I have set concrete goals to create an economy built to last, including recruiting 100,000 math and science teachers over the next 10 years and training 2 million workers at community colleges for jobs in fields like health care, advanced manufacturing, clean energy and information technology.

As a nation, we can’t simply cut our way to prosperity or fall back to the top-down, trickle-down economics that benefits the few, but guts investments in our country’s future that grow our economy – and your startups. But that’s the choice in this election between two fundamentally different paths for our country, between moving forward and falling back.

As your president, I will continue to stand by you because if we combine our creativity, our innovation and our optimism, we can achieve anything. And the reason I’ve never been more optimistic about the future is because of all of you. You’ll be the next entrepreneur to turn a big idea into something – a new invention or an entire new industry. That’s the promise of America; that’s what this country is all about.

That is the legacy of Edison and Bell.  That is the story of Google and Twitter. That is what landed NASA’s Curiosity on Mars, reminding us that our preeminence – not just in space, but here on Earth – depends on investing wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made the United States the envy of the world.

So keep doing and dreaming and moving our country forward.


President Barack Obama

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