New Democrat Coalition (NDC) co-chair Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today joined other NDC members to unveil the group’s “e-genda 2002.”  The annually released document is the NDC’s comprehensive technology policy agenda, outlining goals and priorities for the coming year.  

E-genda 2002 emphasizes critical New Democrat efforts on investment in workforce education, privacy standards, providing greater access to overseas markets, encouraging innovation and promoting e-commerce, while also calling for new policy initiatives such as public-private partnerships to improve homeland security and win the war against terrorism, a balanced approach to digital rights management, open trade and travel with Cuba and restoring investor confidence in our financial markets.

“The e-genda outlines policies that we need to adopt in order to keep our country poised to compete in the global New Economy,” said Smith. “One of the most important aspects of this document is the commitment it makes to education and worker training.  In Washington state, for example, the high technology sector employs more people than does Boeing.   Many jobs in the tech sector, however, repeatedly go unfilled due to shortages of qualified workers.  Fifty-nine percent of firms that were hiring new employees last year reported difficulty finding skilled employees and as of January of this year, there were 115,000 dislocated workers in the state.  We need to do a better job of taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities technology provides, not just in Washington, but nationally.”

Technology issues are critically important specifically to the Ninth District, argued Smith. “Growth in the technology sector actually has a far bigger impact in the South Sound than it does up in Redmond and the Eastside,” Smith explained. “I want to encourage technology companies to grow and create good paying jobs in the South Sound, and that is happening.  The entire Puget Sound economy benefits from the growth in technology, and the resulting surge in job creation.  Some of the areas I am committed to working on to promote and expand the South Sound include improving higher education for our state, creating an setting that is friendly to business and job growth, and promoting innovations like comprehensive broadband and securing greater investments in research and development.  Today’s release of the e-genda is one step towards making all of that happen.”

Smith was joined at the release by fellow NDC co-chairs Reps. Jim Davis (D-Fla.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.), as well as key NDC executive council members Reps. Cal Dooley (D-Calif.), Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.), and Jim Moran (D-Va.).

The New Democrat Coalition is a group of 74 pro-growth, centrist Democrats in the House of Representatives founded in 1997.  Since then, two-thirds of Democrats elected to the House have joined the NDC, making it the largest and one of the most influential caucuses in the House

The full text of e-genda 2002, along with an executive summary and the New Democrat Coalition’s Record of Results, and can be found online at: