Technology plays a huge role in Americans’ daily lives — and important questions loom about how to best ensure that all Americans will benefit from high-tech advancements, and whether the tech industry operates fairly and responsibly.
Today, a veteran Democratic tech policy executive launched a new center-left tech policy industry coalition — called the Chamber of Progress — to tackle these big questions, help usher in a progressive high-tech future, and ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps.
In its first action, the Chamber of Progress yesterday called on Congress to pass historic voting rights legislation and encouraged state legislatures to reject pending bills that would curtail Americans’ right to vote.
The new organization is founded and led by Adam Kovacevich, a veteran of Democratic politics and the tech industry. Kovacevich served as an aide to Democratic officials including Rep. Cal Dooley (CA), Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT), and State Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum (SC), and was among the founding staff members of the House New Democrat Coalition. He was Google’s seventh DC hire, led Google’s U.S. public policy team, and has held policy leadership roles at the urban mobility company Lime and at the Information Technology Industry Council.
“Technology has brought information to our fingertips, delivered affordable goods to our doorsteps, and kept us connected during a pandemic,” Kovacevich said. “Our organization will be focused on making America’s high-tech future bright, fair, and inclusive for all Americans.”
The Chamber of Progress will advocate for public policies in three areas:
- Economic progress, including combatting income inequality; promoting a bigger, modern social safety net; encouraging progressive taxation; and supporting reliable, win-win online marketplaces.
- Social progress, including promoting inclusive democracy; supporting bold action against climate change; promoting digital opportunity for all; and advocating for healthy and equitable online communities.
- Consumer progress, including promoting the principle that tech should always serve consumers’ interests; “building back better” by investing in communities and regulated innovation; increasing access to goods and information; and balancing consumer and worker concerns.
Kovacevich said the Chamber of Progress aims to play a role in defining the next era of technology regulation.
“The tech industry’s political honeymoon is over, and everyone wants to make sure that tech operates fairly towards communities,” said Kovacevich, who has been involved in tech policy for twenty years. “We’ll support sensible rules that nurture the things that people love about technology, while curbing tech’s downsides.”
“New Democrats are excited to work with the Chamber of Progress in defining the next chapter of tech policy,” said Rep. Ami Bera (CA-07), Vice Chair for Outreach of the House New Democrat Coalition. “As the largest caucus of pro-growth Members in Congress, our members support innovation and common-sense regulation.”
The Chamber of Progress is supported by its initial partner companies including Amazon, Automattic, Facebook, Doordash, Getaround, Google, Grubhub, Instacart, Lime, Twitter, Uber, Waymo, Wing, and Zillow. No partner companies sit on the organization’s board of directors or have a vote on its policies, and the organization will remain true to its stated principles even when its partners disagree.
Kovacevich also announced the organization’s volunteer Advisory Board, a diverse cross-section of leaders from government, Democratic politics, public interest, and industry who will provide input on the organization’s work. The full Advisory Board can be found at ProgressChamber.org.
New Jersey State Senator Troy Singleton (D), an Advisory Board member and national leader in promoting portable benefit programs for gig workers, said, “Our economy is changing, the nature of work is changing, and public policy needs to evolve to ensure that all people can benefit from technological advances. The Chamber of Progress can help make sure that America’s growth story includes everyone.”
Colorado State Senator Jeff Bridges (D), an Advisory Board member who has led autonomous vehicle policy in his state, said, “We need a high-tech future that creates good-paying jobs and greater opportunity for everyone. I’m excited for the Chamber of Progress to promote inclusive, tech-driven economic growth.”
“Many of us are both progressive and pro-tech,” said Advisory Board member Julie Samuels, Founder and Executive Director of Tech:NYC. “The Chamber of Progress will fill an important void in the policy debate, by focusing on the ways the tech industry can — and already does — support progressive social and economic ideals.”