Article from Issue 81/2007

Dear Linux Magazine Reader,

Votes in the U.S. Congress aren’t always determined by party. For some issues, geography is a more important factor. Farm-state senators like farm subsidies,

and auto-state senators like auto subsidies – regardless of party affiliation. This rule is actually closer to high tech than you think. You can count on legislators from the high tech corridors to deliver critical votes for sweeping initiatives to help the businesses in their districts, and sometimes the aid is much more direct – almost to the level of what you could call “constituent services.” Few software companies are big and important enough to be associated with an entire state, but there actually are a couple of states that are tied in the public mind to software companies in the same way that Florida is tied to Disney World. Those states are Washington (home of Microsoft) and Utah (home of Novell). Whenever Bill Gates goes to talk to the Congress, the Washington senators take very good care of him. Likewise, when a Novell exec arrives, he is treated well by the Utah delegation. This is all fair of course – every senator and congressman looks after the businesses in their district – but it gets even more interesting when elected official contend with other officials representing the competitors of their home-district businesses.

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