New Connect Lobbyist for Technology Innovation Discusses His Role and Priorities

4/27/10Follow @bvbigelow

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educate legislators, because if the regulatory process is unclear, investors don’t invest, and if [insurance] reimbursement for a medical device is unclear, investors don’t invest.”

Roth says he originally proposed the idea of hiring a lobbyist for San Diego’s tech community about a year ago—a time when rumors also were circulating of a possible consolidation involving Connect and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. The merger talk evaporated, and Roth says the proposed lobbyist became a subject of disagreement among some groups in San Diego.

“There wasn’t really disagreement about the importance of doing it,” Roth says. “But there was disagreement over how it should be done.” Some argued that San Diego’s technology community “should do this in fly-in mode,” or that it could be done on a part-time basis. “Our board felt it’s important to have a real full-time person who worked for us. Connect, with its 25-year history of supporting technology innovation, would be more credible.”

Roth also says that Connect and Tardibono “don’t intend to take the lead on biotech issues—” that’s Biocom’s turf in San Diego—and that city and county issues also lie beyond the purview of Connect’s new lobbyist.

Julie Meier Wright, the longtime president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., did not respond to queries e-mailed yesterday.

But Joe Panetta, who heads the life sciences industry group Biocom, says: “BIOCOM has a comprehensive DC program, and we have both member company reps from many industry companies whom we work with and unique, specific trade association relationships in DC with pharma, device, and biotech sister DC trade associations, as well as my monthly trips to DC with CEOs to go to Capitol Hill. Our Board does not see a need for a Washington lobbyist. Duane has a very different organization of small companies outside of biotech that have no DC representation and I applaud his unique and different perspective on CONNECT’s need for this.”


Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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