PHILADELPHIA _ Congressional candidates searching for ways to attract voters will get some help Tuesday when six high tech groups release a 185-page campaign strategy booklet complete with facts, figures, speeches and made-for-TV sound bites on issues important to entrepreneurs.
Six Washington-based associations _ including the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and NASDAQ, where most biotechnology stocks are listed _ formed an Entrepreneurs Coalition to push their legislative agenda on congressional and presidential candidates in this fall's elections.
The coalition members contributed staffers and $15,000 _ $2,500 each _ to develop the booklet and will begin distributing it next week to both Democrat and Republican candidates and their national election committees.
Unlike political action committees (PAC), the Entrepreneurs Coalition will not distribute money to candidates.
"This is not a PAC," said Carl Feldbaum, president of BIO. "We're asking all the candidates to incorporate our messages in their campaigning. The entrepreneurs' agenda is identical to BIO's."
Topping the list of issues are taxes, including reduction of capital gains taxes and adoption of other incentives to promote economic growth; protection for intellectual property; and legislative changes to ease federal regulations, such as those enforced by the FDA.
The campaign book, Feldbaum said, includes analysis _ region by region _ on the role entrepreneurs play in the U.S. economy.
The outline also provides candidates with suggested campaign events, press releases, speeches and sound bites.
"The biggest expense," Feldbaum said, "is the printing cost."
In addition to BIO and NASDAQ, the Entrepreneurs Coalition includes the Council on Growing Companies, the National Venture Capital Association, the American Entrepreneurs for Economic Growth and the Software Publishers Association.
Feldbaum said all the coalition members represent entrepreneurs in high tech industries with job growth potential.
The group describes itself in a mission statement as a "non-partisan coalition of non-profit industry associations representing U.S. high technology entrepreneurs, growth companies and emerging industries which seek to capture new international markets, improve our lives and generate economic growth and jobs for Americans."
The six organizations, Feldbaum said, represent more than 14,000 companies nationwide.
The coalition will kick-off its election-year campaign at a press conference in Washington Tuesday.
As for BIO, legislative FDA reform consistently is among the highest priority issues. At the industry association's 10th international conference in Philadelphia this week, Feldbaum said passage of a bill in 1996 still is possible, but the chances are not good.
"There will have to be intense negotiations and we need bipartisan support and White House cooperation," he said.
If legislation does fall victim to election-year politics, Feldbaum said BIO will be ready with another FDA reform bill next year.
The five-day BIO convention concluded Thursday. Among the new features of the conference was an international roundtable presentation from biotechnology industry groups representing 15 countries, including nations from Europe, Asia and Africa.
The gathering is expected to be a regular event of BIO's annual meeting, Feldbaum said, with the goal of forming a loose confederation to promote common interests. n
-- Charles Craig Staff Writer
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