Internet Association’s Plan to Expand Influence: Focus on the Left Coast
The trade group's new office in California, a state often at the forefront of technology issues, puts the association both in the heart of Silicon Valley and in Sacramento—complete with a brand new lobbyist to help influence tech policy in the state.
For almost two years now, the Internet Association (IA) has been working hard in Washington to shape the policies that could define the future of the high-tech economy.
So what’s next for the trade group? A westward expansion. IA is opening up a second office in Sacramento, California—an outpost it sees as an opportunity to set the tone nationwide. More details:
Why California? In a blog post on The Huffington Post, IA President and CEO Michael Beckerman writes that the decision was predicated on the state’s nationwide influence. He cites research from the Progressive Policy Institute showing that California outpaces other states on internet issues, with the economic benefits spreading far beyond Silicon Valley. As a result, the state often deals with related legislative issues earlier than the rest of the country. “As these complex technological issues are debated in public squares around the country,” Beckerman writes, “California lawmakers can provide valuable leadership by encouraging technology-friendly policies that do not dampen our innovation economy’s unmatched growth potential.”
Next steps: The IA office in California’s capital city, which will be helmed by former TechAmerica lobbyist Robert Callahan, has yet to weigh in on pending legislation, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. It does, however, have a few key items to focus on off the top. First up, IA is likely to weigh in on ride-sharing issues, reflecting the interests of members Uber and Lyft (both companies are based in nearby San Francisco). The group also will weigh in on e-commerce policy, reflecting the needs of members like Amazon and eBay. But in general, many of the Internet Association’s efforts will focus on issues that affect the public at large, such as data-sharing and cyberbullying, while emphasizing self-regulation.
“There’s never been a time when the future of the platform is more at stake than today,” Beckerman told the Business Journal. “We want to ensure that the internet remains open and free and innovative.”