May 04, 2017

VIDEO: Cortez Masto Discusses Opportunities for Federal Government Incentivizing Technological Innovation

Watch Senator Cortez Masto’s exchange here.

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) discussed opportunities for the federal government to help incentivize technological innovation in both rural and urban communities across Nevada. In response to questioning from Senator Cortez Masto, the witnesses highlighted the impressive strides that Nevada lawmakers have made in promoting technological transportation investment in the state. In order for such innovation to continue, however, the Senator noted the importance of bringing stakeholders together to more effectively address the barriers to broadband deployment.

The hearing’s witnesses included Ms. Patricia Cooper, Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs, SpaceX; Mr. Larry Downes, Project Director, Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy; Mr. Brian Hendricks, Head of Technology Policy & Public Affairs for the Americas Region, Nokia Corporation; the Honorable Gary Resnick, Mayor, City of Wilton Manors, Florida; and the Honorable Jeff Weninger, State Representative, Arizona House of Representatives.

Below is an excerpt of Senator Cortez Masto and Mr. Hendricks’ discussion on incentivizing innovation and public-private partnerships:

Senator Cortez Masto: “Mr. Hendricks, you made a number of references in your testimony to SMART Cities. This is an area that I am very interested in working on and I'm glad you raised it. I'm curious, did you partner with a community under the DOT Challenge last year?”

Mr. Hendricks: "I would have to check, I don't recall doing that. One thing I would say is I think Nevada has probably been the most forward-leaning customer that we have dealt with in our discussions. It is very clear, from the governor to the Legislature, to the members of Congress, that there is interest in making Nevada an attractive place for tech investment, and we've had a lot of fabulous conversations with cities about doing smart city deployment kind of work.”

Senator Cortez Masto: "And this is why I bring it up and I'm grateful that Mayor [Resnick], you are here as well as a representative. I've worked in state and local government and I think there is an opportunity at the federal level to help incentivize local, state, and private sector to come together down a path. And I think, in Nevada, our future is in technology and promoting technology, and you see that happening, and that's why I bring up the SMART Cities. This is an issue I am interested in, and looking at federal dollars to help incentivize communities to really go down this path - both rural and urban areas - and I'm curious if that's something you would be interested in seeing in the future as well.”

Mr. Hendricks: “Yes, and in my testimony I describe that I think, to the extent there will be funds available for fiscal activities in an infrastructure bill or another context, Nokia would very much like to see priority given to those verticals, including smart cities. And I think there's an opportunity there…”