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Kansas Sen. Moran talks Startup Act at SXSW, urges big social media push

Capital Factory’s Joshua Baer conducts an on-stage interview with Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) at South by Southwest Interactive.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) took the stage at South by Southwest Interactive on Sunday afternoon for a brief presentation, an interview with the director of an Austin startup accelerator and an audience Q&A. His topic, “Encouraging Innovation and Empowering Entrepreneurs,” focused on The Startup Act, a bill he co-authored with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

“I started looking for an avenue, a venue in which we could promote growing the economy,” Moran said in his opening remarks. “I was fortunate to come across the Kauffman Foundation headquartered in Kansas City and their research on entrepreneurship. I looked at my own state and saw the kind of things that have happened in the history of Kansas that have created jobs and significant industries … and concluded that (entrepreneurship) is the place to focus.”

Moran’s presentation was teed up with an introduction by AOL co-founder Steve Case, now chairman of the Startup America Partnership. In addition to recognizing the efforts of Moran, Case noted that the JOBS Act, another bill that aims to assist startups, recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I’m honored to introduce the senator,” Case said, “but the main reason I’m doing it is to thank the senator for taking such a leadership role on this issue of entrepreneurship.”

Following his hour-long session, Moran spoke with Silicon Prairie News about one of the main points of his talk and reasons for his SXSW visit: encouraging the tech community to go online and voice support for The Startup Act.

“I don’t expect the flood to occur that we had with SOPA and PIPA,” Moran said, “but that conversation by the internet is something that members of congress are now paying attention to.” 

Moran did not provide a specific plan of engagement online or during his interview with SPN. Instead, he expressed his hope that the tech community would find an effective method to show its support.

Check out the three-minute video below to hear Moran talk about The Startup Act, his visit to SXSW and how the Kansas startup community has played a part in The Startup Act.

To listen to an audio recording of Moran’s session, visit sxsw.com.

For more on the Startup Act, see our post, “Senators introduce Startup Act, aim to boost new business growth (Video),” and recent coverage by Politico, “At SXSW, Jerry Moran pushes startup bill,” and TechCrunch, “Democrats And Republicans Agree: We Need More Startups [TCTV]“.


Also worth noting about Moran’s visit to Austin, he made time to meet with Kansas City area entrepreneurs, even sporting two of the startups stickers – AgLocal and Leap2 – on his suit jacket.

Moran (third from left) poses with Kansas City area entrepreneurs (from left) Jacob McDaniel and Naithan Jones of AgLocal, Dan Carroll of Leap2, Josh Coleman of AgLocal, Sarah Gambach of Leap2, Kyle Johnson of Audio Anywhere and Laura Lightbody of AgLocal.

Credits: Photo of SXSW Interactive session by Danny Schreiber. Photo of Sen. Jerry Moran and Kansas City area entrepreneurs from moran.senate.gov.

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