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Politics

Silicon Valley's Agenda for the Second Obama Term

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According to a study by Maplight.org, employees in Silicon Valley contributed $14.7 million to President Obama’s re-election campaign – more than New York City or Hollywood.

Kate Mitchell, managing director with Scale Venture Partners, says a recent victory has the typically myopic investor community more excited about politics.  Earlier this spring, Mitchell helped pass the JOBS Act, a bill that makes it easier for small companies to raise capital. The bill's bipartisan support gave her an insight.

"Congress wants to help small companies -- I mean you hear this all the time," she says. "So there isn't an interest gap. There's a knowledge gap."

Mitchell plans to lobby for the types of companies she invests in to get federal funding for research. Michael Beckerman is a lobbyist with the Internet Association, whose members include the largest Silicon Valley companies. "A lot of what we need to do is defensive," he says. "Unlike a lot of other sectors that are regulated now, we're not."

Beckerman opposes a draft White House plan that would put the Department of Homeland Security in charge of overseeing cybersecurity.  "You can't have regulators and bureaucrats in these agencies controlling what Facebook could do, what Google could do -- the problem of the unknown," he warns.

Mitchell's venture capitalists and the Internet Association both want the federal government to expand visas for skilled immigrants. 

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