Are the 2016 U.S. Senate candidates passing or failing on the critical issues facing tech and startups? While many Senators often talk about their support for the tech sector, the institution as a whole has not produced the kind of meaningful reforms many in the tech community believe are necessary to support innovation, from high-skilled immigration reform to support for strong encryption technologies.

Engine and Tusk Ventures have teamed up again to put together a list of the current key issues facing startups and the innovation economy. These are big problems with big implications for millions of jobs, workers and most, if not all, of America’s most innovative companies.

We’ve examined issues like encryption, intellectual privacy, talent, and capital access and graded* each candidate individually so voters can see what they’re doing—and what they’re not.

We cannot emphasize enough that no candidate is perfect on all startup issues, and neither party can consider themselves to be the “tech party.” Instead, nearly all of these candidates have ignored or oversimplified more than one of these issues throughout their political careers, and many have failed to outline or champion any tech policies whatsoever.

The battle for smart legislation that helps, not hurts the digital economy will continue for years to come. Congress has not missed its chance to meaningfully help the digital economy, but legislative action must happen sooner rather than later.

We hope this guide will help voters make an informed choice at the polls in November and encourage others to keep pressure on Congressional leaders to do even more for tech after the election in the upcoming legislative session.

*Candidates were evaluated on publicly available actions and statements. Actions (co-sponsorship of bills, votes) were weighted more heavily than statements. Candidates with an insufficient record on one or more of the issues in a category were graded incomplete. See additional methodology in the Appendix.


Core Issues


State-specific Analysis


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