The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) honored Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and The Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein for their support of technology innovation at the eighth annual Digital Patriots Dinner.
In opening remarks at the dinner, CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro applauded Congress and President Barack Obama for obtaining new spectrum for wireless broadband; for passage of the Columbia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements; for preserving innovation on the Internet; and for enacting the JOBS Act. He also spoke of the success of CEA's Innovation Movement, which now has more than 200,000 members, "These are Americans who believe innovation is the key to reviving our economy and creating new jobs," said Shapiro.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), along with Carlyle Group managing director and D.C. philanthropist David Rubenstein, were honored for their role in advancing consumer technology. Shapiro said these three honorees "are tenacious leaders willing to fight the status quo to do what is right for our country. They understand the important role that entrepreneurship plays in generating jobs and keeping our country strong."
Senator Wyden was recognized as a Digital Patriot for his work to protect innovation in America while securing an open, accessible Internet. Regarding the defeat of the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), harmful intellectual property legislation that was resoundingly defeated earlier this year, Senator Wyden said, "The fight for the open Internet and the networks that empower it was a group effort." He added that innovation is a crucial component of America.
Representative Chaffetz fought to ensure that hearings on SOPA and PIPA included input from technology experts who could speak to the true harm to the Internet of those bills. He accepted his Digital Patriots award remarking "We need to understand what Internet and policy do...Please, bring in the nerds!" He commented on how so few people are engaged and involved in Congress and added "You take an industry like this that represents what's right with America and allow it to thrive."
David Rubenstein, well-known for his dedication to philanthropy, was recognized as a Digital Patriot for his lasting contributions to society and his protection of technology. He cited the key phrase from the U.S. Constitution, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as the defining principle of what this country is all about as he accepted his award. "These rights are so essential. They are great rights embodied in the Magna Carta that are also contained in our constitution," said Rubenstein.
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