We’re in the thick of a presidential election year here in the United States, which means that Democrats and Republicans are at each others’ throats even more than usual as each party fights to win votes. But even now, there is still one political issue that both sides have to get behind in order to stay in voters’ good graces: Job creation.
And since so many jobs these days are created by startups and small businesses, a number of politicians have started championing initiatives to make it easier for people to start their own companies. One such example is the Startup Act, co-authored by Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas and Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia.
TechCrunch TV had the opportunity to sit down with Senator Moran this past weekend at the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, where he was speaking about the Startup Act and meeting with entrepreneurs from all over the country. We were able to get his insights on why creating startups is a bipartisan issue, how Silicon Valley should engage with Washington, D.C., and much more. The entire video interview is embedded above, but here are just a few of Moran’s points:
The US needs global talent
“[The Startup Act aims] to encourage people who are educated here, who perhaps grew up in a foreign country but now have a Master’s or a Ph.D. in engineering, science, or mathematics, that they can obtain visas to remain in the United States. Or, if you have some entrepreneurial ability and you want to bring that entrepreneurship to the United States, you can bring it here. If you will agree to put people to work in our country, we want you in the United States.”
Small businesses need less paperwork
“Startups can’t afford to be hiring a lot of lawyers and accountants to handle all the government stuff that comes their way.”
Startups go beyond tech
“Entrepreneurship in the United States is broad. It could be starting a sandwich shop… it is a wide array of things. Although, technology is certainly at the forefront of job creation, entrepreneurship and innovation in the country. It’s one of the reasons that I quickly got involved in the battle against SOPA and PIPA. As you look at, what do we do to grow the economy and have innovation and entrepreneurship, technology became front and center. Yet we had potential legislation that would have stifled the ability and certainly driven up the costs and reduced the chances of success for those who have entrepreneurial ideas in regard to technology.
So, technology is a huge component of it. But it is much broader. It’s the opportunity to market and to sell and to produce lots of things across the country. All we need is people with ideas who have a shot at success.”
Founders: Call your Congressperson
“It’s a shame in my view that so much of whether or not an entrepreneur or business person has success has to do with Washington, D.C. I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish that you didn’t have to try to influence policy in our nation’s capital, but the reality is you do. I would encourage the tech community to reach out to elected officials and tell them their story, tell them about their success, what their hurdles have been. Develop a relationship with elected officials… There’s plenty of evidence that when the tech community does engage they can have a victory.”
Pushing the issue past party lines
“What we want to avoid is this concept becoming a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. It’s an American idea. We are great entrepreneurs. We have a history in this country of taking ideas to market and succeeding.
…The kind of stuff that we’re talking about, I would guess 80 percent of Congress would agree upon. And what you have to avoid is those who want to engage in these issues either to see them succeed or fail based on the politics. Trying to make certain that the other side — unfortunately we’ve developed sides in politics — that the other side doesn’t have a victory. That’s a terrible development, and we ought to be much more about what’s good for Americans, what’s good for the United States, as opposed to what’s good for a political party.”