Bob Goodlatte Named Co-Chair of Internet Caucus

(November 20, 1998)  Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has been named House Republican Co-Chair of the Internet Caucus.  He is the lead sponsor and advocate of the Safety and Freedom through Encryption Act (SAFE), HR 695.

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Rep. Bob

The Congressional Internet Caucus is a bi-partisan group of Representatives and Senators who promote the Internet.  Rep. Goodlatte replaces Rep. Rick White (R-WA), who lost his bid for re-election earlier this month.  The other co-chairman are Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA).

Rep. Goodlatte was the lead sponsor in the 105th Congress of the Safety and Freedom through Encryption Act (SAFE), HR 695, which would guarantee all Americans to use and export any encryption product.  The bill is widely supported by the computer and Internet industry.  He was also a key player in the drafting of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was passed and signed by the President.  He also sponsored a bill that would have banned online gambling which did not pass.

More Links
Biography of Goodlatte.
Rep. Goodlatte's Website.

Goodlatte serves on the Judiciary Committee, the Agriculture Committee, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, and the Republican Policy Committee. On the Judiciary Committee, he serves on the Constitution Subcommittee, and the Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee.  The later subcommittee has jurisdiction over copyright, patent, and trademark issues which are significant to the computer and Internet industries.

Sen. Burns praised Rep. Goodlatte on Thursday:

"Bob has been an effective spokesman and activist for moving the Internet ahead, and his enthusiasm for these isues is unmatched.  The Internet has already changed the way we do business and , to some extent, changed our very culture.  Having Bob on board gives me great confidence that the Internet Caucus will continue to serve as a valuable resource for members as we grapple with Internet policy."

Profile of the Congressional Internet Caucus
The Congressional Internet Caucus is a bi-partisan group of over 100 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet.

The Caucus, with the assistance of the Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation (IEF), hosts regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet related policy issues.

Membership in the  Caucus is open to any Member of Congress who pledges support for the following goals:
Promoting growth and advancement of the Internet
Providing a bicameral, bipartisan forum for Internet concerns to be raised.
Promoting the education of Members of Congress and their staffs about the Internet.
Promoting commerce and free flow of information on the Internet.
Advancing the United States' world leadership in the digital world.
Maximizing the openness of and participation in government by the people.

Rep. Goodlatte represents the 6th district in western Virginia, which includes much of the historic and picturesque Shenendoah Valley.  The district is largely rural, and depends mainly on dairy farming, livestock, and poultry.  Like the three other co-chairman of the Internet Caucus, he represents a largely rural and small town district, without any significant computer or Industry companies.

Tech Law Journal asked Internet Caucus Co-Chair Rick Boucher on Wednesday why so many legislators from remote districts lead the Congress on Internet issues. 

"It tends to be people from rural America who have a very large say in what happens with Internet technology policy," said Boucher, because, "we see a bridge to the future in Internet technology for our districts."

"I would like to see information based businesses move to Southwest Virginia," he continued. "Now with broadband communications, more companies can pick their place of doing business."

Boucher added that it makes sense to get involved in high tech issues because it can "give us a distinction of being a rural leader in these technologies," and because "it also puts me in contact with the very companies that I hope to attract to my district."