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9/19/2012
05:50 PM
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Former U.S. CTO Chopra: From Technologist To Politician

Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer, wants to become Virginia's lieutenant governor so he can turn the state into a policy blueprint for expanded broadband, better healthcare, and other serious issues affecting the country.

Before he was the nation's first Chief Technology Officer under President Obama, Aneesh Chopra helped run a healthcare think tank and was Virginia's fourth Secretary of Technology. Now, as he runs for Virginia lieutenant governor, he touts his experiences in both government and technology as a valuable combination.

BYTE caught up with Chopra at the San Francisco headquarters of cloud communications company Twilio to talk about how technology is being used in government and how opening access to data is good for innovation and the economy.

Chopra talked about his policy work in broadband initiatives, healthcare reform, and other areas in which he believes the country needs to act quickly. "Over the next five years, America either will fail or succeed in the big challenges of our day: growing our economy on the backs of startups, strengthening our education system through personalized learning, and addressing our fiscal challenges by constraining healthcare costs while improving quality," he said.

Chopra said that if elected, he aims to make Virginia the blueprint for the rest of the country, "a laboratory of democracy where ideas can be tested, validated, and scaled." Watch the rest of the interview here:

This was not Chopra's first visit to Twilio. He came earlier this year as part of a special event to announce Obama's technology-based summer jobs initiative. During that visit Twilio's CEO Jeff Lawson issued a "lightning round" challenge to developers to build a Twilio app based on the Government's National Resource Directory. San Franciscan Tony Webster built a jobs database for veterans, HeroJobs.org, in under 16 hours. His prize? Meeting Second Lady Jill Biden.

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