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Missouri: Blunt v. Kander

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Senator Roy Blunt (R)

Background: Member of U.S. Senate since 2011

Blunt scores tech-friendly points for co-sponsoring the I-Squared Act and the Startup Act. He also co-sponsored the Startup Innovation Credit Act, which passed Congress as part of the tax extenders package in 2015 and allows startups to claim the R&D tax credit against their payroll taxes (extra credit!). However, his positions on IP, privacy & security, and telecommunications issues range from unclear to very concerning. On IP issues, Blunt initially co-sponsored PIPA but withdrew his support after the intense pushback it received. He supported the America Invents Act but watered down the 2007 Patent Reform Act while in the House. His position on encryption is unclear, but he opposed the USA Freedom Act. Finally, his positions on broadband are abysmal: he opposes net neutrality and has called on the FCC to reverse its decision to update the definition of broadband from 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps, essentially calling for lower broadband speeds.

Secretary Jason Kander (D)

Background: Missouri Secretary of State since 2013

Though Kander has held elected statewide office as Missouri Secretary of State, he is an unknown quantity when it comes to most startup and tech issues. He has pushed back on Blunt’s position on broadband speeds, arguing that “Missourians deserve access to the Internet as a basic, essential utility, and our leaders in Washington need to do everything they can to help expand and improve broadband speeds—especially in rural areas.” Otherwise, he has very little record to judge.