SEMI Hosts Annual “Washington Forum”— Brings American Board to Washington, D.C. to Meet with Policymakers

SEMI Hosts Annual “Washington Forum”— Brings American Board to Washington, D.C. to Meet with Policymakers

By Jamie Girard, senior director, Public Policy, SEMI Americas

With the 2012 Presidential election as the background, SEMI once again hosted its annual Washington Forum on May 8-9, 2012.  The event is mostly compromised of SEMI’s North American Advisory Board (NAAB) Members, but also includes some members dedicated government affairs professionals.  Over the course of two days, the participants meet with Members of Congress, their staffs, and Federal Government officials to push for the top policy priorities for the SEMI member companies.  The group also heard from speakers, and presented its 2012 SEMI Government Leadership Award.

The team started off the day by hearing some advice and getting a “lay of the land” from top Washington lobbyist, Bruce Mehlman.  Mehlman is the executive director of the High Tech CEO Council as well as a former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy in the Bush Administration.  From this viewpoint, Mehlman gave a detailed prognostication of the year ahead in Washington, the “ins and outs” of the Presidential race, and how high-tech companies like SEMI members will fare in the policy arena in the months ahead. 

With the knowledge imparted by Bruce Mehlman, the group of 24 individuals from SEMI member companies broke into four teams to cover specific issue areas including Intellectual Property, Solar PV, and the 450mm transition.  These teams then fanned out across Washington and held 24 separate meetings with Members of Congress and their staffs, White House officials, and Administration experts.  Specifically, meetings were held with the Solar Technologies Program at the Department of Energy, the head of the Patent and Trademark office, David Kappos, U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and many others.  

The NAAB also used the opportunity of being in Washington to bestow the 2012 SEMI Government Leadership Award.  This year’s award winner was Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI).  As Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Rep. Camp sees all tax and trade policy in the House of Representatives.  From this role, the Congressman has been a champion of the research and development tax credit, was instrumental in the passage of the Korea-US free trade agreement, amongst many others, and has been very supportive of solar energy tax policy.  With so many accomplishments in the high tech policy, Rep. Camp was an overwhelming choice for the 2012 award.  David Miller, President of DuPont Electronic Technologies and the Chairman of the SEMI North America Advisory Board, presented the award to Chairman Camp, saying, “Congressman Dave Camp is a leader and champion on high-tech innovation issues…Throughout his career he has fought for commonsense policies that strengthen American high-tech manufacturing, and in doing so, strengthen America.”

The 2012 SEMI Washington Forum was a impressive event and continues to be the premier event for SEMI members to engage policymakers in Washington in a meaningful way.  Plans are already underway to begin scheduling next year’s event, which promises to bring a new set of challenges for the participants to consider after the 2012 elections.  If you have any questions about event or SEMI’s public policy agenda, please contact SEMI senior director of Public Policy, Jamie Girard, at jgirard@semi.org or 202-289-0440.

June 5, 2012