Chopra jumps into race for Lt. Governor
The already packed 2013 field for Lt. Governor of Virginia has just added a pretty high-profile name. As widely expected, former Obama senior staff member Aneesh Chopra formally announced plans to run for state’s number two elected spot. Though not a household name, Chopra brings impressive credentials with high-profile work at both the state and federal level.
Chopra got into government by serving as then Gov. Tim Kaine‘s Secretary of Technology. His effort was impressive enough that after Barack Obama captured the White House, Kaine recommended Chopra for a similar role in Washington, D.C.. Chopra was the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer and held the role for roughly 2 and half years. His job was to help integrate technology into all U.S. policy decisions. It was the first time in American history that technology was given such an important role in the shaping of government decisions. Part of his effort was to make the government’s work more transparent by posting a wide range of the public’s work online.
The position by its nature is not open to much controversy, but Chopra did find himself in some. He was forced to defend the Administration’s position on the controversial SOPA/PIPA legislation that was designed to reign in internet piracy issues. The Obama administration never formally endorsed the two pieces of legislation but did concede that internet piracy was a problem. They however were reluctant to get behind any policy that they felt inhibited free expression and innovation. Eventually the heated debate led to the legislation being killed and at this point there is no serious movement toward developing a cogent policy to combat internet piracy.
That is no longer Chopra’s problem as he is squarely focused on being elected to Lt. Governor of Virginia. His impressive fund-raising effort in the 2nd quarter of this year has impressed some lefty bloggers and he is certainly connected to some high level Virginia democrats. His problem, as is often the problem with candidates for Lt. Governor, is that he lacks significant name recognition. While often called upon to be the public face of technology issues on the state and federal level, the scope of that publicity is pretty limited. He will face a tall challenge introducing himself to the Virginia electorate at large.
To see more about Chopra, here is a look back at my interview with him right before he took the U.S. CTO position back in 2009.
His full press release announcing his run can be found after the jump.
ANEESH CHOPRA TO SEEK NOMINATION FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IN 2013
ARLINGTON, VA – Today, Aneesh Chopra released the following statement announcing that he will seek the Virginia Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor in 2013:
“We live in a time of profound change. In our communities, our Commonwealth and our country, people are looking for pragmatic solutions that address our biggest problems, create opportunities and improve our lives.
Ideas matter. And so does action to make our economy work for everyone.
Since I left my position as U.S. Chief Technology Officer, friends, neighbors, business and community leaders have encouraged me to take action by running for statewide office. I’m humbled by their support and pleased to announce that today, after months of reflection, I enthusiastically filed my candidate qualification to seek the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor in 2013.
As Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, I worked with communities across the Commonwealth to plant the seeds of new ideas to ensure all Virginians have the skills they need to compete in the 21st Century economy. We created hands-on high school technology training through Virginia STAR, accelerated efforts to prepare more people without a high school degree for jobs of the future through PluggedInVA, and harnessed the power of mobile technology to support great teaching through our Learning Without Boundaries initiative.
I remain excited about these efforts and the new opportunities we have to bring Virginians together to solve our biggest challenges in the years ahead. I am committed to seeding innovative ideas that support a quality workforce and educating Virginians throughout their lifetime to strengthen and maintain a state economy that is built to last.
Over the next several months, our Commonwealth and our country face important choices. I will work hard to help elect President Obama, Governor Tim Kaine, and our exceptional roster of Democratic Congressional candidates this November. In addition, in the days, weeks and months ahead, I look forward to continuing to listen to Virginians, hearing directly from them about the issues affecting their families and serving as an enthusiastic advocate on their behalf.”