Founder of Anchorage-based company CustomMousePad.com goes public after silence from Congressman’s office on pledge to help restore net neutrality
ANCHORAGE, AK – Local entrepreneur Jennie Stewart of CustomMousePad.com has decided to go public about a bombshell promise from Republican Congressman Don Young (AK-0) to sign the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution discharge petition to help restore net neutrality. The Congressman pledged to sign the CRA during a meeting with Stewart on Capitol Hill in June.If he follows through, he would become the second GOP House representative to sign the CRA to overturn the FCC’s repeal.
The promise came during a visit at the Congressman’s DC office during a "Day of Advocacy For Net Neutrality" hosted by a coalition of public interest organizations. Despite productive correspondence between Ms. Stewart and Rep Young’s office following the meeting, the Congressman’s team has since gone quiet and has yet to deliver on their commitment to sign the CRA. His office has not responded to calls from several journalists inquiring about the CRA.
Ms. Stewart then notified digital rights group Fight for the Future, who is today helping her go public with her story.
"The radio silence from Congressman Young’s office has made me pretty anxious. But he promised he would sign the CRA to restore net neutrality protections for Alaska businesses like mine, so I’m confident he’ll follow through," said Jennie Stewart, founder of Custom Everything Inc. and CustomMousePad.com, "When he first said he’d sign the CRA I was thrilled. It was amazing to hear such a high-ranking member of Congress take such a strong, independent stance on this, and put the needs of his constituents ahead of giants like GCI and AT&T. But I’m afraid his silence means the telecom lobby got to him – and I really hope I’m wrong about that."
"For Congressman Young, following his pledge to sign the net neutrality CRA is a no-brainer," said Fight for the Future Executive Director, Sarah Roth-Gaudette, "He has the safest seat in the country, and can afford to stand up to the telecoms on this. Alaska businesses rely on net neutrality to reach customers for everything from sales to telemedicine and education, but they’re paying more money for less Internet than anywhere in the country. They simply cannot afford to be blocked, throttled, or charged new fees by ISPs. We hope Representative Young decides to follow through on his promise before Congress breaks for the August recess so he can be welcomed back to his district as an Internet hero."
The CRA was recently passed in the Senate with a historic bipartisan vote of 52-47. The discharge petition currently has 175 co-signers including one other Republican. If 215 House reps sign the discharge petition, it will force a vote to restore strong net neutrality rules preventing blocking, throttling, and new fees online.
Founder, CustomMousePad.com and Custom Everything Inc
Technology Exchange Fellow