Big tech bills in Congress can cause us harm
As Mayor of Prineville, I care a lot about rural economic development and the ability to attract and retain employers in Crook County. Strong communities depend on families being able to afford to live and find work here. The way the economy is today, it often means the average person changes jobs several times throughout a career. I know this firsthand having worked for 22 years at Les Schwab, a job I loved, but when the physical demands started taking a toll, having Facebook and Apple locate data centers here opened up new careers for a lot of folks like me. From timber to tires and now to tech, these are jobs that support our economy, quality of life and can't be taken for granted. This is why I'm speaking out against some misguided legislation being pushed in Congress.
In general, I'm wary of new regulations on business, but I'm particularly concerned about the massive overreach with a slew of legislation being targeted at so called Big Tech. When Congress says don't worry, trust us, these bills will make it better for everyone, my radar is on red alert. The sponsors of the "American Innovation and Choice Online Act," (HR 3816) and the "Ending Platform Monopolies Act," (HR 3825) are pretty clear that their intent is to dismantle big tech as we know it. Well, I've been around long enough to know that policies can have a lot of unintended consequences, especially for rural areas like ours. If these bills pass as written, they aren't just going to hurt Big Tech, they are going to hurt workers, families and small businesses in places like Prineville.
I'm calling on all of Oregon's members of Congress to oppose HR 3816 and HR 3825. These 'Big Tech' companies aren't just faceless warehouses, they employ our neighbors and contribute to our community. Just last month Facebook contributed a $225,000 grant for the Prineville Connected Community Project, which will provide robust internet connectivity across the city. Having new Wi-Fi access points built in Downtown Prineville, the Crook County High School campus and the Crook County Fairgrounds helps us compete in the global economy.
These employers could have located to a lot of places, and we feel fortunate to have them here. Not only do they directly hire local workers, but they attract other businesses and spur ancillary economic activity in construction, caterers, food trucks, equipment suppliers and real estate. However, just like timber jobs, we can't take them for granted and we need our elected representatives to stand up to defend them.
The tech sector impacts every county in Oregon, and we need to grow these jobs, not destroy them.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.