2014 DC TechTable: Sens. Jeff Flake and Tim Kaine

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[staff name=”Sens. Jeff Flake and Tim Kaine” position=”United States Senate” img=”https://www.t4a.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/flake-and-kaine.jpg”]Senator Jeff Flake is a fifth-generation Arizonan who was raised on a cattle ranch in Snowflake, Arizona. Snowflake was named in part for Senator Flake’s great-great grandfather. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Flake served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001-2013 representing the East Valley. After serving a Mormon mission in southern Africa, Jeff graduated from Brigham Young University, where he received a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A. in Political Science.

Tim Kaine was born on February 26, 1958, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He entered politics in 1994, was elected Virginia’s lieutenant governor in 2001 and became governor in 2005. Kaine gave the Democratic response to President George W. Bush’s 2006 State of the Union address, and he was the first governor outside of Illinois to endorse Barack Obama for president. In January 2013, Kaine began serving as a U.S. senator from Virginia.

Connect with Senator Flake here: [v_icon color=”#1bb2e9″ size=”21px” hover=”show-color” name=”moon-twitter” url=”https://twitter.com/JeffFlake” target=”_blank”]

Connect with Senator Kaine here: [v_icon color=”#1bb2e9″ size=”21px” hover=”show-color” name=”moon-twitter” url=”https://twitter.com/timkaine” target=”_blank”][/staff][/column]

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[quote author=”Senator Jeff Flake”]To be successful, you need buy-in from both sides.[/quote]

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[heading]Key Takeaways[/heading]
[v_icon color=”#1B75BB” style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-rating-3″]The high unemployment rate among veterans is something that comes up frequently in our TechTables. On one hand, Senator Kaine points out that the private sector doesn’t tend to have a good understanding of the skills learned in the military. On the other, he also admits that the military doesn’t focus on post-military futures. One suggested solution is to credential the technology and leadership skills learned in the military. Veterans tend to be particularly well-trained in soft skills such as teamwork and communication, yet they struggle to communicate this to employers.

[v_icon color=”#F37320″ style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-stats-down”]Rural decline has also been a contributing factor to our nation’s high unemployment rate. Most jobs available are high-skilled and tend to be based in cities, systematically excluding our rural sector of the population. Those that are able to keep up with the skills required for the positions tend to migrate to cities, while the others are left with less opportunity. Sen. Flake believes that, while we may never be able to get back to our previous numbers in rural communities, we can help slow the decline by bringing more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Senator Kaine says that we can help revitalize these areas by investing in sustainable agriculture.

[v_icon color=”#FBAD1D” style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-envelop-2″]A new topic that was brought up in this table was the idea that public opinion tends to be at odds with that of the federal government. Sen. Flake says that the best way to be heard is to increase your volume. If a lot of people are writing in about the same issue or there is some grand gesture (e.g., anti-SOPA movement), his office will definitely take notice. Sen. Kaine stressed that, for him, it was less about the medium of contact but instead the content of the request. One letter with a great idea to solve a tough problem will be the most likely to get his attention. The communication needs to go both ways though. In order for our technology representatives to be able to contribute their expertise, they need to know about the problems. We urge the public officials to use us as a resource and to keep us informed on what tends to be the toughest problems they’re facing.

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Gallery coming soon…

…See more photos from this TechTable on our Facebook page.

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[heading]Executive Briefing[/heading]

Click here to read a more detailed summary of the TechTable (password required).



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