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OCT 28, 2015 | US

The Hill Features BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel's Thoughts on How to Ensure a Better 3rd GOP Debate

Third time’s the charm: Questions for GOP debate

The Hill, October 28, 2015

The early Republican debates and first Democratic debate were lost opportunities to discuss economic growth issues. As the 2016 Republican presidential candidates face off in their third primary debate of the season, the Middle East, Second Amendment rights and immigration policies certainly will be on the agenda.

However, in a sluggish economy, economic expansion and job creation should be center stage. Critical to economic expansion is open and free trade, highly skilled workers and a regulatory framework that balances risk-taking innovation with stability. All three of these factors are necessary to generate economic growth in the sectors most tied to our financial heath in today’s digital age, including software, data and technology.

To expand beyond two percent annual GDP growth and provide real opportunities for Americans to buy a home, put their children through college and plan for retirement, our elected officials must put at the top of their agenda insightful, pro-growth economic policies that fit the modern times in which we live. Moderators of the remaining presidential debates have a great opportunity, and responsibility, to include this important area that impacts all of America.

Candidates should be asked everything from how they would improve STEM education in this country to how they would plan to address the cyber threats our nation faces without hindering innovation.

What laws would they craft or repeal to improve our global competitiveness and respond to the opportunities of the digital economy?

What would they do to open up markets, and provide additional access to our industries?

What solutions would they propose to enable free flow of data across borders globally?

Three major polls this year – Quinnipiac University, July 23-28, 2015; CNN/ORC Poll, July 22-25, 2015; and CBS News/New York Times Poll, April 30-May 3, 2015 – all illustrated that Americans believe the economy is the number one issue facing their country, and the number one voting factor in the 2016 presidential race. So why aren’t we asking such much-needed, practical questions like these? We can do better.  Asking these overdue questions and hearing candidates’ plans will give us a window into their thinking when it comes to understanding the necessity of growing our innovation economy.

Moderators should seize the opportunity to start making much better use of the debates to talk about the issues that matter most to Americans – and the policies needed to ensure a stronger economic future.

Espinel serves as CEO and president of BSA | The Software Alliance, a Washington, DC-based organization which advocates for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace.

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Original Posting: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/258257-third-times-the-charm-questions-for-gop-debate

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