Blend CEO Karla Santi traveled to Washington D.C. this week to take part in the Third Annual Internet Association Gala, in which South Dakota senator John Thune was awarded the Internet Association’s highest recognition for excellence in public service, the 2016 Congressional Internet Freedom Award.
In her introduction, Karla spoke highly of what an open and free internet has done to build relationships not just in Sioux Falls, but across the country and around the world. In her words, “Working in this industry is not a job of convenience - it is a passionate expression of what we love. Our work requires a strong internet ecosystem.”
“Senator Thune and Congresswoman Eshoo champion policies that have contributed to unprecedented growth in the Internet sector, which now employs nearly 3 million people and represents 6 percent of our economy,” said Michael Beckerman, Internet Association President and CEO. “Both leaders understand and support the Internet economy , and look for ways to foster innovation and opportunity across the sector. The Internet Association, on behalf of the world’s leading Internet companies, is honored to present Senator Thune and Congresswoman Eshoo with the Congressional Internet Freedom Award.”
In his role as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Thune has a clear track record of support for the Internet economy. He sponsored the Digital Trade Act of 2013, which enabled the free flow of digital goods and services across international borders. Senator Thune also helped spearhead final Senate passage of the Consumer Review Freedom Act, limiting gag clauses that can discourage users from posting negative reviews online. Additionally, Senator Thune brought his support for the Internet community back home, participating in an Internet Association-led small business crawl in Sioux Falls, which highlighted success stories from local businesses using the Internet to expand operations and better serve customers.