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For the last few months, we've been posting Democratic Senate challenger positions on net neutrality here at OpenLeft. Since we started posting, we've been getting in statements and positions, from blogs like Cotton Mouth and the Political Base, from the candidates themselves, and from readers who took the time to ask and send in statements. I'm happy to report that every single Democratic challenger with more than $500k in cash on hand has announced their support for net neutrality. This is a milestone for the fight for internet freedom. I included statements reacting to this news from Senator Byron Dorgan, Speaker Pelosi, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, Google public policy director Alan Davidson, and Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu.
One thing you'll notice is that there is basically no organized telecom or cable money going to any of these candidates, with the exception of Al Franken, Mark Warner, and Mark Udall. Franken and Warner both had careers with cable or telecom companies, so they have friends in those industries, and Udall is a sitting House member.
Democratic Senate candidates (non-incumbent), campaign contributions from Cable/Telecom PACs, expressed positions on net neturality and candidate contacts:
Tim Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School and co-author of Who Controls the Internet? "Net neutrality is slowly becoming one of those political sacraments. It's not like Social Security yet, but it's getting there. The basic principle of a fair and open internet is the kind of thing you'd have to hate apple pie to be against."
Alan Davidson, the Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Google:, ""Keeping the Internet free and open is something that policymakers on both the left and the right should support, and we hope to see the ranks of net neutrality supporters increase in Washington next year. The Internet's neutral design has enabled it to become a powerful engine for innovation, and America's continued economic growth depends on it remaining open."
Adam Green, Moveon.org: "This important moment shows the power of citizen driven advocacy," said Adam Green of Moveon.org. "A guy on his blog just preempted the work of millions of dollars of telecom lobbyists. OpenLeft deserves a lot of credit for leveraging its voice during this election season and getting these candidates on the record. "
Josh Silver, Free Press Action Fund Executive Director : "Net Neutrality is an issue that every member of Congress should champion. We applaud Open Left for holding our leaders accountable for protecting the open Internet."
Jonathan Adelstein, FCC Commissioner : "It's inspiring to see that the movement for internet freedom is tapping the same American spirit that fueled the movement against media consolidation. Working together, we can make sure that the internet remains open and neutral - of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Since its inception, the internet has been characterized by its openness - its freedom - its equality. Without net neutrality, America's small businesses and entrepreneurs could be left in the slow lane with inferior internet service, unable to compete with the big corporations that can pay internet providers toll charges to be in the fast lane. Bloggers could be silenced by skyrocketing costs to post and share video and audio clips. Net neutrality will prevent those toll lanes, allowing the innovative tradition of the internet to continue and flourish by enacting protections that ensure all consumers are able to access any content they wish with the same broadband speed and performance. The people opposed to net neutrality are not the entrepreneurs, the thinkers, the innovators who brought us to where we are technologically - they are the people who did not innovate in the first place. We must continue this fight."
Patric Verrone, Writer's Guild of America, West: "Net neutrality is a critical fight for writers and others working in the entertainment industry. We must not forget the lessons that old media systems have taught us, in which global media conglomerates have created barriers to entry into the marketplace and taken ownership and creative control of the TV shows and movies we create.
The Internet is a great equalizer in this struggle. Evidenced most recently by Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible web series, a burgeoning market for original, online content is emerging, and members of the WGAW are poised to create the next generation of entertainment content for the world, free from the gatekeepers that have come to control broadcast television and cable.
We at the WGAW have been educating our members about "Internet freedom" and have been pressing upon all political leaders the reasons why we must protect the next generation of media production. But net neutrality affects more than just writers. It affects the entire American public. Preserving Internet freedom allows consumers to access the entertainment, information, and news of their choosing. We are pleased that candidates are lining up to support net neutrality and we look forward to working with all elected leaders to preserve a free and open Internet.
In a world filled with oxymorons like jumbo shrimp and Hollywood accounting, we are proud to be part of the "fight for neutrality."
Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge: "A free and open Internet is a necessary part of our society. It enhances creativity, innovation, democracy, education, commerce and every other aspect of what we do. We hope that Congress next year will agree and will return to consumers the rights they once had to a communications network unfettered by private interests acting in their own behalf, instead of on behalf of the public."
Thania St. John, League of Hollywood Women Writers and Member, Writers Guild of America, West: "We are enthused that Democratic Senatorial candidates are lining up to support Internet freedom. The principle of an open and democratic Internet is as American a principle as we have.
The goal of the League of Hollywood Women Writers is to educate candidates and elected officials about the critical media issues facing writers and other creative talent working today. We have prioritized meeting with Senatorial candidates to discuss these key areas as we feel that a free Internet is important to every American, not just those of us in the entertainment industry. We are helping to fundraise for candidates that share our views and hope to meet with those who would like to hear more.
Maintaining the Internet as a free and open marketplace of ideas and information benefits us all. It also affords true content producers the ability to create and distribute creative product, while maintaining ownership and creative control over their work. This is something the 'old media' system simply does not allow. We can not allow the future flow of ideas and information to be owned and operated by a handful of conglomerates as it is today in traditional broadcasting. This affects every aspect of our lives, from politics to advertising to education to entertainment.
We must take a stand now and we implore all elected officials and the FCC to make this a priority until we ensure Internet freedom."
Statements from candidates are below.