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Illinois: Kirk v. Duckworth


Senator Mark Kirk (R)

Background: Member of U.S. Senate since 2010

Kirk has signaled some general support for and interest in technology and startup issues: he established the STEM Education and Workforce Caucus in 2013, is a member of the Internet Caucus (extra credit!), supports expanding rural broadband access, supported the USA Freedom Act, and proposed a Small Business Bill of Rights. Most significantly, Kirk opposed PIPA and is a co-sponsor of the I-Squared Act, a high-skilled immigration bill widely supported by the tech community. However, Sen. Kirk has strongly opposed net neutrality, hasn’t taken a position on encryption, and the specific proposals in his Small Business Bill of Rights have very little to do with the needs of today’s high-tech companies.

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D)

Background: Member of U.S. House of Representatives since 2012

Duckworth has a good record on broadband access and infrastructure: she voted against the No Rate Regulation Act, sees broadband as an essential utility, and has advocated for expanded access. She has also made STEM education a priority, supporting President Obama’s Computer Science For All grants and helping to launch the FUSE program in her district, which engages students in the STEM areas. Additionally, she has voted favorably on some key bills (including the USA Freedom Act and the Innovation Act). However, she has little on her record in terms of copyright issues and encryption.