DC Influencer: Peter Cleveland, Intel

Intel's global public policy director Peter Cleveland speaks with Jaimy Lee about the ways innovation fits into the company's policy agenda

How is Intel addressing innovation in its policy activities?

We spend an enormous amount on our future research, about $6 billion a year. Being on the technological edge is crucial for Intel; it's why we lead. We benefit from the federal government investing in new ideas and concepts.

Uncertainty is a topic Intel CEO Paul Otellini publicly talked about last year.

If we have a better feel for what public policy is being developed and what will be enacted, it's easier for us to proceed on a business front.

In terms of the company's political agenda, are there areas Intel is focusing on more than a year or two ago?

We're focused intently on public policy that promotes technology innovation. We support Republicans and Democrats who are focused on those types of issues. We interact very actively with people across government to promote innovation - the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, the White House's chief technology officer.

Discuss Intel's involvement with healthcare issues in Washington.

Health IT is a crucial area for patients, doctors, and hospitals if the best diagnoses are to reach patients quickly and costs are minimized. Electronic health records will help correct common medical errors that hurt pa-tients' interests. Our products and technology will help the delivery system across the US.

In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we were very pleased with incentive funding for doctors and hospitals to implement new types of IT programs in their offices.

When talking to policymakers, is there a need to provide education about something like the role of mobile?

We recruit thousands of engineers from the US and overseas, so immigration matters to us. Spectrum policy is critical and free trade agreements to protect intellectual property are vital. We work closely with legislators so they understand that our huge job base - 43,000 workers - depends on our ability to have reasonable emissions controls in our manufacturing process.

There are so many issues that matter to a crown-jewel American company such as Intel that we can't afford to not be constantly educating lawmakers, policymakers, and regulators on these topics.

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