Congressional members and other thought leaders gather at Stanford to talk about innovation

Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo and Nancy Pelosi, (Photo Credit: Kate Chesley)
Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo and Nancy Pelosi, (Photo Credit: Kate Chesley)

Rep. ANNA ESHOO (D-Palo Alto) hosted a roundtable with political and Silicon Valley leaders at Stanford on Tuesday, Feb. 16, to help develop an Innovation Agenda 2.0.

Among the about two dozen invited participants were Democratic Leader NANCY PELOSI; Stanford President JOHN L. HENNESSY; JOHN FREIDENRICH, chairman of Regis LLC and a former member of the Stanford Board of Trustees; Fr. MICHAEL ENGH, president of Santa Clara University; BRAD SMITH, CEO of Intuit; JOELLE EMERSON, CEO of Paradigm; JOHN MILLIGAN, CEO of Gilead; and TOM BYERS, director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

Following the private event, Eshoo, Pelosi and Rep. ZOE LOFGREN (D-San Jose) met with members of the press to talk about the issues discussed. Hennessy began the press conference by introducing the members of Congress and noting that Pelosi and Eshoo created the first Innovation Agenda about a decade ago that also kicked off at Stanford.

Highlights of actions that stemmed from that original agenda included legislation aimed at promoting energy independence, educating the next generation of innovators, investing in research and development, accelerating entrepreneurship and expanding access to high-speed Internet across the country.

“The U.S. is exceptional because the framers had great ideas,” Eshoo said. “We’re now building on the framers’ ideas.”

She added: “How fitting to meet here under the exceptional leadership of John Hennessy.”

At Tuesday’s roundtable two major topics of discussion were immigration and education, both expected to be a big part of Innovation Agenda 2.0. “We want the agenda to be unifying,” Lofgren said. “It’s about the American people and unity.”

Over the next three months the members of Congress expect to convene roundtables around the country to discuss the issues, “then a lot of thinking and refining,” Eshoo said. She hopes the discussion will then lead to introducing related legislation sometime this year.