May 19, 2009 By Matt Williams
Senate confirmation of federal CTO nominee Aneesh Chopra, the former Secretary of Technology for Virginia, could come as soon as this week after he testified Tuesday to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told his fellow committee members that Chopra would bring tremendous potential to the dual role of federal CTO and the associate director of the Office of Science and Technology. Warner appointed Chopra to a series of boards during his time as Virginia's governor from 2002 to 2006.
"Last year Government Technology magazine named him one of the 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers, and as someone who has spent a great deal of time with Aneesh -- keeping up with all of his ideas -- he's a bit of a whirlwind, and I know that he'll bring that same energy to this new position," Warner said.
As federal CTO, Chopra would work closely with federal CIO Vivek Kundra and chief performance officer Jeffrey Zients.
"If confirmed by the Senate, I intend to channel that passion [for service] to execute on the president's vision for a 21st-century economy -- one where jobs are more plentiful, American firms more competitive, communications more affordable, broadband more abundant, families more connected, and the nation more safe and secure," Chopra told the committee.
In Virginia, Chopra championed projects such as the Physics Flexbook, a Web-based open source textbook that supplements existing materials. He backed a social network built on Ning to connect health-care clinicians in small towns. He also initiated a scorecard system to rate the performance of Virginia's state agencies, and launched a one-stop Web site for business-to-government transactions and services. Last year the National Association of State Chief Information Officers awarded Virginia first-place honors for technology management.
"We worked to build a culture of innovation in the public sector that saw state employees translate simple ideas into funded prototypes expected to 4 to 1 return on taxpayer investment and aligned directly with legislative and executive priorities," Chopra said.
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