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New coalition urges gubernatorial candidates to adopt aggressive agenda to ensure California's leadership in innovation and competitiveness

"California Competes" launched by broad and diverse group of academic, high tech and biotech leaders

San Jose, California – “California Competes,” an unprecedented coalition of high-tech companies, research universities, and regional economic development organizations, today unveiled an innovation policy agenda for the state of California, and urged the two gubernatorial candidates to embrace it.

Endorsed by more than sixty-five leaders in information and communications technology, life sciences, clean technology, venture capital, academia, and regional development, the California Competes Agenda is designed to strengthen California’s position as the global leader in the development and use of new technologies.

“With just one month left before the election, it is critical that both candidates set forth a bold innovation strategy for the state,” said Eric Benhamou, Chairman of Palm and 3Com. “Today, California is not just competing against Boston and Austin – we’re also competing against Shanghai and Bangalore.”

“California’s political leaders understand the need to invest in roads, bridges, and dams,” said Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. “What we need is the same commitment to invest in the building blocks of economic growth in the 21st century – research and development, a high-tech workforce, and a business climate that fosters innovation.”

“Enactment of this agenda will create high-tech, high-skill jobs for the people of California,” said Ted W. Love, M.D., Chairman and CEO, Nuvelo, Inc. “It will also foster the development of technologies that will address significant unmet medical needs, slash greenhouse gas emissions, limit our dependence on foreign oil and reduce traffic congestion.”

"This initiative underscores the importance of ensuring California remains competitive in the technology sector so new jobs are created for future generations," said Brian Halla, Chairman and CEO of National Semiconductor.

"California today is the world's leader in innovation but we must take every step necessary to make sure we stay on top in this increasingly competitive global economy," said Stratton Sclavos, Chairman, President and CEO of VeriSign. "The California Competes Agenda lays out an impressive blueprint to strengthen our commitment to science, technology and innovation. I urge our elected leaders from all sides of the political spectrum to embrace this effort to ensure California remains the world's epicenter of cutting-edge discovery and economic growth."

"California has flourished through its ability to turn innovation into successful entrepreneurship," said Dr. Aart de Geus, chairman and CEO of Synopsys, Inc. "Strong investments in science and technology are the sources from which new innovation and thus new business opportunities emerge. California is uniquely equipped to take advantage of this cycle, and we encourage the gubernatorial candidates to embrace this innovation agenda and work with the coalition to unleash California’s next wave of global competitiveness."

The California Competes proposal has four elements:

  • Creating a focal point for science and technology issues within the state executive and legislative branches;
  • Increasing state investment in research, such as the four California Institutes for Science and Innovation;
  • Improving the business environment for knowledge-intensive firms through specific changes in regulatory, legal, and tax policy, and a plan to dramatically accelerate the deployment of advanced broadband technologies; and
  • Expanding California’s science and technology workforce, by, for example, providing the University of California with the resources needed to recruit more faculty and graduate students in bio, info, and nanotechnologies.

California Competes is led by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, a public-private collaboration that provides analysis and action on issues affecting Silicon Valley’s economy and quality of life; TechNet, the bipartisan political network of CEO's that promotes the growth of the innovation economy; and California Healthcare Institute (CHI), representing more than 250 life sciences firms, and public and private biomedical research organizations in California..

Participating in California Competes initiative are, among others: Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley; Larry Vanderhoef , Chancellor, University of California, Davis; Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor, University of California, San Diego; George R. Blumenthal, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Cruz; Henry T. Yang, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara; J. Michael Bishop, Chancellor, University of California, San Francisco; Jean-Lou Chameau, President, Caltech; Steve Ubl, President and CEO, Advamed; Hector de Ruiz, CEO & Chairman of the Board, Advanced Micro Devices; Keven Sharer, President & CEO, Amgen; Ginger Graham, President & CEO, Amylin Pharmaceuticals; Catherine Burzik, President, Applied Biosystems; Mike Splinter, President & CEO, Applied Materials; Jim Greenwood, President & CEO, BIO; Jim Tobin, President & CEO, Boston Scientific; Henry Samueli, Chairman, Broadcom; Meg Whitman, President & CEO, eBay; Henry L. Nordhoff, Chairman, President & CEO, Gen-Probe; Craig Barrett, Chairman, Intel Corporation; Gregory Lucier, Chairman & CEO, Invitrogen; John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers; Dave Pearce, CEO, Miasole; Brian Halla, Chairman & CEO, National Semiconductor; Ted Love, Chairman & CEO, Nuvelo Inc.; Kenneth C. Hayes, President, CEO & Director, Radiant Medical; Aart de Geus, Chairman & CEO, Synopsys; Eric Benhamou, Chairman, Palm; Stratton Sclavos, Chairman & CEO, VeriSign; Paul E. Jacobs, CEO, Qualcomm; Russell Hancock, President & CEO, Joint Venture Silicon Valley; David Gollaher, President & CEO, California Healthcare Institute; and Lezlee Westine, President & CEO, TechNet.

For more information and a full list of participants, please visit

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