Sen. Ensign to head new technology subcommittee

Sen. John Ensign has led the Republican High Tech Task Force since 2003 and has focused on many private sector initiatives such as expanding broadband access, safeguarding copyrighted material and maximizing spectrum use.

Now the Nevada Republican can add a little muscle behind that agenda. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, named Ensign as the chairman of the new Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness Subcommittee.

'This is a formalization of what Sen. Ensign was doing with the task force,' said Melanie Alvord, spokeswoman for the Commerce Committee.

The new subcommittee will have jurisdiction over the National Institute of Standards and Technology, global competitiveness of the private sector and technology research, Alvord said. The new subcommittee replaces the Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee.

Alvord said the other members of the subcommittee have not been named yet because the full committee still is deciding the chairmanships of other subcommittees.

Ensign also will remain chairman of the Republican High Tech Task Force.

'Technology remains one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and exciting new developments are being created by America's entrepreneurs every day,' he said in a release. 'Whenever possible, we need to remove government obstacles and allow innovators to provide the latest and best products to consumers everywhere.'

Industry reacted positively to Ensign's ascension to subcommittee chairman.

Rick White, president and chief executive officer of TechNet, a bipartisan political network of industry chief executive officers in Palo Alto, Calif., said Ensign is 'one of our industry's strongest advocates.'

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