U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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  • SOTU Analysis: Leading the way in energy innovation

    In this series of blog posts, Senator Coons’ legislative staff shares their analysis of the President’s State of the Union address with Delawareans.

    State of the Union

    In his State of the Union Address, President Obama emphasized the importance of scientific research and development, praising innovation and declaring that “we need to invest in the best ideas.” Senator Coons is a passionate believer in the importance of basic and applied science and is a strong supporter of innovative products being developed in Delaware.

    President Obama called attention to innovative 3D printing that “has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.” In Delaware, the revolution has already begun. At the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, scientists such as Tariq Rahman and Whitney Sample have used 3D printing to create customizable assistive devices to help children overcome mobility challenges. These cutting edge innovations gave five-year-old Emma Lavelle plastic appendages that allowed her to play and hug her mother for the first time.

    Last night, President Obama called for “a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.” He specified that today, no area holds more promise than investments in American energy. Delaware is once again leading the way, with energy research that is truly paradigm-shifting.

    The University of Delaware was named as an Energy Frontier Research Center by the U.S. Department of Energy. An award of more than $17 million dollars will be used to find more efficient ways to convert complex molecules from biomass into chemicals and fuels. UD is also at work fueling innovation in partnership with Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation with transformational projects like super-strong magnets and hydrogen-fuel cells.  As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a leading champion of ARPA-E, Chris will continue to support these game-changing initiatives.    

    During a recent visit to the University of Delaware’s STAR campus, Chris test-drove a car built by a joint project between the UD and NRG Energy. The car allows rechargeable battery-operated vehicles to also serve as a source of power to the electrical grid. With scientists such as UD professor Willett Kempton leading the way, Delaware at the forefront of realizing the President’s vision. 

    Tags:
    ARPA-E
    Energy
    Innovation
    Research
    Science
    State of the Union
    University of Delaware
  • Senator Coons helps kick off entrepreneurship program

    Horn

    Last week, Senator Coons took part in a launch celebration unveiling the new Horn Program in Entrepreneurship at UD.

    Made possible by a generous gift from Charles and Patricia Horn, this program will encourage students to pursue the kind of entrepreneurial ideas that will power Delaware’s economy for years to come.

    The Horn program will enhance and expand entrepreneurial studies at UD and be made up of a variety of initiatives like the Venture Development Center, a student business incubator, Hen Hatch, UD’s premier startup funding competition and an annual President’s Forum on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It will also support new curricular offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    Chris believes that supporting our innovators and entrepreneurs is critical to our economic recovery. 

    To read more about his work to create jobs and promote American economic competitiveness, click here.

    Tags:
    Competitiveness
    Delaware
    Economy
    Entrepreneurs
    Innovation
    Jobs
    Senate
  • Senator Coons tours Dentsply Caulk plant

    Senator Coons visits Dentsply Caulk in Milfrod

    MILFORD – Senator Coons visited the Dentsply Caulk plant in Milford on Tuesday to hear about how the company has kept growing over its 135 years in business. The company is a division of Dentsply International, the world’s largest professional dental products manufacturer.

    In 2008, thanks in part to the Delaware Economic Development Office, Dentsply underwent an $8.3 million expansion to accommodate pharmaceutical and infection control manufacturing processes, and added 14-thousand square feet of processing spaces. In 2001, they spent $11 million to modernize the plant.  The Milford facility also went through significant expansions in the 1990s and 1980s.

    “Dentsply Caulk has become a leader in the professional dental product industry and serves as an example of how hard work, innovation and investment in the community can propel a company forward,” Chris said. “Their team has made huge strides since coming to Delaware and is improving dental equipment and products to better serve doctors and patients around the globe.”

    Chris spent much of his visit learning about the low volume/high value products that Dentsply manufactures. He also learned much more about the different manufacturing techniques and unique materials used by Dentsply.

    Dentsply International has facilities in 22 nations on six continents, manufacturing and distributing products in 120 countries under well-known industry brand names. Dentsply Caulk has made recent break through innovations in composite resins, for instance Prime & Bond® NT™ single component bonding agent, Aquasil Ultra Smart Wetting® impression materials and Esthet•X® HD Micro Matrix Restorative.

    Dentsply Caulk has three sites in Milford, totaling over 325k sq. ft., with more than 400 associates. 

    Tags:
    Delaware Economic Development Office
    Innovation
    Manufacturing
  • Supporting innovation to fuel job creation

    Senator Coons' Monthly column

    The most important responsibility I have as your senator is to support job creation. Our economy is starting to recover, but there are still far too many Delawareans out of work. That is why we are continuing to host job fairs across the state, connecting job seekers with employers ready to hire, and working to help Delaware businesses access the capital they need to grow and create new jobs.

    One of the keys to fueling American economic growth and ensuring we remain competitive in the global economy is putting in place policies that support and sustain innovation. American ingenuity has always been at the core of our economic success. From inventing the light bulb to perfecting the search engine, we have never lacked good ideas. The challenges of the global economy may be new, but America’s advantage – our entrepreneurs and innovators – remains the same. We just have to support their work so they can continue to grow and create jobs.

    Over the last few months, I’ve partnered with Republicans and Democrats alike to introduce legislation that will support our most innovative companies – the ones with the highest job-creation potential.

    Watching cable news, it would be easy to think the Senate is stuck in partisan gridlock, and to an extent, that is true. Yet there are also decent people of both parties who want to get things done, especially when it comes to our economy. To those of us in Delaware, that is the rule, rather than the exception, but unfortunately, Washington doesn’t always work the same way.

    That is why I was so glad to find partners like Senator Marco Rubio from Florida and Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas. They are both conservative Republicans, but I’ve worked with them and Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, on a series of job-creation proposals we bundled together in a bill called the Startup Act 2.0.

    The Startup Act 2.0 is designed to promote innovation and jumpstart the economy through the creation and growth of new businesses and jobs. It is based on research showing that for almost 30 years, companies less than five years old have created almost all the net new jobs in America – at an average of about three million new jobs a year. So we pulled together ideas that help bring university research from the lab to the marketplace, ideas that encourage investments in new startup companies and more in the hopes of creating an environment where entrepreneurs can succeed.

    Our bill contains an array of job-creating measures for small businesses, such as exempting capital gains taxes on investments in startups, which the independent Kauffman Foundation tells us would unlock $7.5 billion of new investment. It also supports innovative small businesses with an expanded research and development tax credit, an idea Senator Rubio and I introduced together last fall as part of our bipartisan AGREE Act and something I will continue fighting to pass because it is critical for Delaware small business.

    With the right resources, American products can be manufactured in Delaware and remain competitive in the global marketplace. It is happening every day across our state, at companies of all sizes, including Miller Metal in Bridgeville, a local shop that is going head-to-head with Chinese metal fabricators – and winning.

    We have to continue to support this kind of entrepreneurship and innovation in all sectors of our economy, including in the energy sector. There is going to be a clean energy economy in the years ahead, the only question is whether American businesses, families and workers will be at the center or the periphery. If we want to stay competitive in the race for homegrown, affordable, renewable sources of energy, we have to make sure our financial innovation keeps up with our technological innovation.

    That is why this spring, I introduced bipartisan legislation to level the playing field and make a tax credit that has long supported oil and gas projects available to renewable energy projects like wind, solar and biofuels. The bill I wrote with Senator Moran, the Master Limited Partnership Parity Act, could bring significant capital off the sidelines to give clean energy innovators and projects the critical private sector support they need to get their product to the marketplace.

    The bottom line is that America’s researchers, business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs are already working to help create jobs and ensure American competitiveness in the global economy. We just have to support and sustain their hard work, and we cannot take the rest of the year off just because there’s an election coming up. Even in this difficult, partisan atmosphere, we have to find ways to work together and get things done. Innovation will drive American economic competitiveness for generations to come, and our job is to help our innovators and entrepreneurs do their jobs.

    Tags:
    Delaware
    Economy
    Entrepreneurs
    Innovation
    Jobs
    Monthly Column
  • Senator Coons, two Delaware business leaders participate in roundtable discussion on job creation

    WASHINGTON –Senator Coons participated in a roundtable discussion for ways of duplicating the success of innovative, job-creating American businesses in the Capitol on Wednesday. The meeting was hosted by the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee and featured representatives from more than 15 companies, including Patrick Owens, president of ILC Dover, and Marty Miller, CEO of Miller Metal in Bridgeville.

    “As our nation lifts itself out of this recession, we should turn for guidance to companies that are strengthening our economy and creating jobs,” Chris said. “These past few years have really taken its toll on Delaware’s economy with the closing of several key businesses around the state; however, there are several small companies in Delaware that have been successful. I was honored to invite Patrick Owens and Marty Miller to join today’s meeting and appreciate their input on how the federal government can help businesses grow. I look forward to keeping an open line of communication with them and other Delaware businesses leaders so we can work in partnership to strengthen our state’s economy and get more Delawareans back to work.”

    Mr. Miller said during the meeting that thanks to a Small Business Administration loan and assistance from the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Miller Metal was able to purchase a laser cutter: the laser and the MEP have helped Miller Metal increase its workforce from 30 employees to 75.

    The Senator has made job creation a top priority for his time in the Senate. Most recently, he joined on as an original cosponsored of the Bring Jobs Home Act which would end taxpayer subsidies to companies that ship jobs overseas and incentivizes companies to bring jobs back to the United States.    

    In an effort at bipartisanship, in May, he joined with U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) in introducing the Startup Act 2.0, which is designed to promote innovation and jumpstart the economy through the creation and growth of new businesses and jobs.

    Tags:
    Businesses
    Innovation
    Jobs
    Manufacturing
  • House companion to Startup Act 2.0 introduced

    This week, members of the U.S. House introduced a bipartisan companion to the Startup Act 2.0, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Coons, along with Senators Moran, Rubio and Warner.

    The House companion to the Startup Act 2.0, introduced by Reps. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), shows continued strong, bipartisan momentum for this important legislation to jump-start our economy and help businesses grow and create jobs.

    “Startup 2.0 is about creating American jobs,” Rep. Grimm said in a press release. “Too often we educate the world’s best and brightest in STEM fields, only to send them back to countries like India and China to open businesses and compete against us. This bill will keep top talent here in the U.S. to build businesses that hire Americans, and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness.”

    “As our economy continues to recover, we must further enable our entrepreneurs to grow and to create jobs,” Rep. Sanchez said in a press release.  “Startup 2.0 legislation is a natural follow-up to our efforts to jumpstart the economy and it is exactly the kind of legislation the United States needs to keep up with India, China and the rest of the global market.”

    Senator Coons joined his colleagues on the Senate floor for a colloquy on the Startup Act 2.0 earlier this week. Click here to watch.

    Tags:
    Competitiveness
    Economy
    Entrepreneurs
    Innovation
    Jobs
    Startup Act 2.0
  • Bloom Energy breaks ground in Newark

    Ground-breaking ceremony for Bloom Energy facility in Newark, Delaware

    NEWARK — Senator Coons was on hand to commemorate the ground-breaking of Bloom Energy's new manufacturing facility on the grounds of the old Chrysler plant in Newark Monday morning -- an important moment for the Delaware's economic future.

    "When we think about the threads that will keep America competitive in the global economy for the next generation, we think of innovation, entrepreneurship, clean energy and manufacturing - and all of those are coming together today here in Delaware," Senator Coons said. "In building its East Coast facility here in Newark, Bloom isn't just investing in its own cutting-edge technology - Bloom is investing in Delaware's communities, our families, and our future. This is a wonderful day for Delaware, and is a day made possible because of what Delaware brings to the table: a talented workforce, a welcoming business climate, and the tremendous leadership of folks like Governor Markell, Secretary O'Mara and DEDO Director Levin. I am proud to welcome Bloom Energy to Delaware today, and look forward to a long, fruitful relationship."

    Tags:
    Clean Energy
    Energy
    Governor Markell
    Innovation
    Jobs
    Manufacturing
  • Celebrating World IP Day

    As we celebrate the 12th annual World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, we find ourselves reflecting on the progress that has been made in the past year in protecting American IP, as well as the barriers we still face in preventing theft of our ideas and innovation.

    Senator Coons has been hard at work on the complex issue of protecting American intellectual property from theft by foreign criminals. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chris has supported various pieces of legislation addressing issues such as prevention of IP theft over the internet (Protect IP Act), theft by foreign entities (Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act ) and the trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals (Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act).

    Copyright infringement and the sale of counterfeit goods cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, in addition the billions of dollars in lost tax revenue for federal, state and local governments and the threat to the safety and wellbeing of consumers.

    Every year on April 26, World Intellectual Property Day celebrates how IP fosters and encourages innovation and creativity. To increase understanding of what IP really means, the World Intellectual Property Organization chose April 26 – the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970 – as World IP Day. Since then, IP Day has provided an opportunity to highlight, discuss and demonstrate how the IP system contributes to music and the arts and to driving the technological innovation that helps shape our world. World IP Day 2012 focuses on Visionary Innovators – individuals whose ingenuity and artistry have broken molds, opened new horizons and made a lasting impact.

    Click here to learn more about Chris’ work on the Judiciary Committee.

    Tags:
    Innovation
    Intellectual Property
    Judiciary Committee
  • Budget Analysis: Protecting innovation

    Legislative AnalysisSenator Coons has been hard at work on the complex issue of protecting American intellectual property from theft by foreign criminals. After hearing from local businesses, both large and small, about the importance of this issue, Chris recently said “protecting American innovation is an economic imperative, and whether that innovation comes in the form of an idea, a design, or a product.”

    President Obama’s budget proposal also recognizes the imperative of protecting innovation and through that, American jobs. It includes several solutions, such as: 

    • Improve the Patent System and Protect Intellectual Property. The budget proposes to give the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USP­TO) full access to its fee collections and strength­en USPTO’s efforts to improve the speed and quality of patent examinations through reforms authorized by the America Invents Act. This will provide the USPTO with more than $2.9 billion in resources in 2013.
    • Strengthen Enforcement. The budget supports strengthened intellectual property enforcement domestically and overseas as set out in the Intel­lectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s Joint Strategic Plan required by Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 (Pro-IP).
    • Promotes Innovation by Protecting Intel­lectual Property Rights. The Administration proposes de­voting nearly $40 million to identify and defeat intellectual property criminals, an increase of $5 million over 2012. The Administration’s efforts have already resulted in shutting down 350 web­sites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works. Addi­tionally, international partnerships and joint ini­tiatives have enabled experts to train or educate in IP protection more than 2,500 foreign judges, prosecutors, investigators, and other officials from over 30 countries.
  • Helping innovative small businesses

    There are lots of federal programs designed to help traditional small businesses — retail stores, service providers, restaurants and others — grow from employing one person to employing 10 people. They’re great, and deserve our continued support.

    Especially in this economy, though, we need to think bigger. How do we help the innovative small companies doing cutting-edge research and development reach their potential and grow from employing five people to employing 50? Or 500? Or 5,000? Delaware is home to dozens of these types of companies, and for these innovators to grow and create jobs, we have to support them in their critical early stages. That’s why this week I introduced an idea to level the playing field and help our innovative small businesses grow. The federal government would award qualifying new companies an “innovation credit” that it could sell to a larger, more established company for a cash infusion. It’s a new approach that I’m working on with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and leaders in the business community. Our economy was built on out-of-the-box thinking, and right now, that’s exactly what our economy needs.

    What are your out-of-the-box ideas for helping our innovative small businesses grow? I want to hear what you think, so please click here to share your thoughts.


    Innovation is the spark that powers job creation. Behind nearly every innovation are two of my favorite words: research and development. After all, it’s through R&D that ideas become innovations, innovations become products, and products transform industries.

    As our economy continues to recover, we have to put the transformative power of innovation to work creating high quality jobs in Delaware. Large businesses already have access to an R&D tax credit to help them develop new products, but as it stands now, small businesses and start-ups – which have much higher job creation potential – don’t have the same opportunity.

    The tax code is a powerful tool in the government’s toolbox, but tax credits can’t help emerging companies that don’t yet have tax liabilities. A “small business innovation credit,” or “tradable R&D tax credit,” is a way to help small businesses with great potential for job growth to fulfill that potential.

    Will you share your ideas for supporting innovative Delaware small businesses? Take a minute and let me know how you think we can help small companies grow and create jobs.


    We can’t let tough economic times slow down the power of American ingenuity, especially when history has taught us that now is exactly the time we need to be investing in our innovators. That’s why supporting our local businesses so they can grow and create good jobs continues to be my top priority.

    I look forward to hearing from you, and to continuing to work together.

    Tags:
    Economy
    Innovation
    Jobs
    Small Business
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