Florida: RUBIO V. MURPHY
Senator Marco Rubio (R)
Background: Member of U.S. Senate since 2011
We’ve already evaluated Rubio once this year in our presidential candidate report card, noting that if he wants to be the tech industry’s savior, he may want to reconsider a few of his policy positions. On the positive side, Rubio supports patent reform and is strong on workforce and skills issues. Even as his support for comprehensive reform has wavered, he has consistently supported high-skilled immigration reforms, co-sponsoring both the I-Squared Act and the Startup Act. He has also historically made STEM education a priority in his education platform, has sponsored the Computer Science Education and Jobs Act, and highlighted the emerging on-demand economy on the Presidential campaign trail. But his assertion that net neutrality will give power over the Internet to "an unelected, unaccountable board” is patently false (and peculiar, considering he himself voted to confirm all five FCC commissioners), and his staunch support of government surveillance programs raises red flags. He also has a mixed record on broadband access (opposing municipal broadband while supporting increased access to commercial spectrum) and has been wishy washy on his position on encryption.
Congressman Patrick Murphy (D)
Background: Member of U.S. House of Representatives since 2013
Though Murphy has only served in the House of Representatives since 2013, he has already championed a number of startup-friendly policies. He is a strong supporter of net neutrality, recognizes the importance of broadband access as a tool for economic growth and has called for boosting STEM education. As far as his legislative record is concerned, Murphy voted “yes” on both the Innovation Act and the USA Freedom Act, and co-sponsored the Startup Act, which would create two new visas for entrepreneurs and STEM graduates. However, his record on copyright issues is less clear, as he was not in office for the SOPA/PIPA debates, and his stance on encryption is problematic.