The First Presidential Debate: Will Startups be on the Agenda?

2012 Election

Tonight, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will take the stage with President Barack Obama at the University of Denver, for the first of three debates between the two candidates as we edge ever closer to election day. Tonight’s debate will focus on domestic policy. We’re hoping to see startups and entrepreneurship prioritized in the debate, as both are a vital and growing force in the American economy.

Both the President and Governor Romney have taken positions in their campaign platforms that would impact the startup community -- from investment in STEM education to reforming high-skilled immigration and others.

President Obama has laid out much of this vision with his Startup America legislative agenda, promoting policies such as granting green cards to the recipients of advanced degrees from U.S. universities, expanding and making permanent capital gains tax exemptions for small businesses, and championing crowdfunding and other financial regulation reforms passed in the JOBS Act in February of this year.

Governor Romney has backed similar proposals, and others that include programs to attract more high-skilled immigrants, strengthening the research and development tax credit and proposed amendments for Sarbanes-Oxley.

But will the candidates elevate these issues and others to the national stage of tonight’s debate?

America is in need of bold leadership. Our economy is still on the road to recovery, but startups are leading the way in creating jobs and pulling us up out of the recession. Government should pay attention to the potential for growth in reforming areas like immigration, education, and financial regulation, in order to give America the opportunity to reclaim our strong economy and cement our position as a global leader.

We hope that both candidates prioritize these important issues in tonight’s debate. Whatever the outcome of the election in five weeks, we look forward to working with the President and Congress on behalf of our community to make a better regulatory environment for startups reality.

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