Google's "hometown" representative in Congress, Rep. Anna Eshoo, visited the Googleplex Friday for a fireside chat with our CEO Eric Schmidt.
With a good chunk of Silicon Valley in her district (CA-14), Rep. Eshoo has been a tireless advocate for promoting innovation and safeguarding the sort of open Internet that enables companies like Google to thrive. In fact, Eric started the conversation by describing one of his early encounters with Rep. Eshoo -- an Internet radio interview he did with her in 1996 at the Democratic National Convention (he didn’t tell her then that they had about a hundred listeners in the audience).
With Google in the constituent seat, our CEO used the opportunity to quiz Rep. Eshoo about some of the tech policy priorities on our plate: the possibility for progress on patent reform this session, the importance of raising the cap on H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, and our shared interest in ensuring the Internet remains a neutral and open platform.
We took the opportunity to celebrate the recent victory in extending the moratorium on Internet taxes -- an issue Rep. Eshoo has championed -- and discussed current trends in technology. It’s not very often that you hear a Member of Congress discuss the benefits of cloud computing (more accessible, less expensive), and the importance of crafting Internet policy so that no one "stands in the way of what a consumer wishes to consume and how they wish to use something." We were impressed.
Eric and Rep. Eshoo also touched on the critical role that the next president will play in shaping policy priorities in Washington in coming years, reminding us all of the importance of our participation in the upcoming election (here at Google, we’ve had lots of reminders of that with our presidential candidate visits to Mountain View and continued efforts to highlight election information through our products ).
With so much going on in Washington these days, of course the conversation spanned lots of other topics, from our strategy in Iraq, to children’s health care, to the partisan environment in Congress. Check it out for yourself: