Wisconsin: Johnson v. Feingold


Senator Ron Johnson (R)

Background: Member of U.S. Senate since 2010

Johnson’s overall score is weighed down in large part by his low marks on telecom issues, as his opposition to net neutrality and the FCC’s decision redefine broadband from 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps puts him at odds with the vast majority of the tech community. He also voted against the America Invents Act. On the positive side, Johnson has expressed support for high-skilled immigration, opposed PIPA, voted for the USA Freedom Act, and in his position as chair of the Homeland Security Committee he has spoken of the importance of encryption and the dangers of government-mandated backdoors. His position on STEM education is unclear

Senator Russ Feingold (D)

Background: Member of U.S. Senate from 1992-2010

In his previous tenure in the Senate, Feingold positioned himself as one of the strongest proponents of digital security and privacy, recognizing the value of strong encryption to the internet economy as far back as 1998 and presciently anticipating the wide-ranging negative consequences of the government’s surveillance programs. He continues to argue that forced “backdoors” would be a huge mistake. Feingold has been a strong supporter of net neutrality and has made broadband expansion a key element of his campaign. He has also voiced concerns around skills gap, improvements to STEM education and better alignment of workforce development and industry needs. His stance on high-skilled immigration is somewhat unclear: he voted “no” on a 1998 bill that would have increased visas for skilled workers, but supported a comprehensive immigration bill that included high-skilled reforms. He loses some points for his problematic position on patent reform. His position on copyright issues is unknown.