Former U.S. CTO Hits the Campaign Trail

Former federal CTO Aneesh Chopra declares his plan to seek nomination as Virginia's next lieutenant governor.

by / July 16, 2012
Aneesh Chopra gives remarks at the Champions of Change event June 10, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Jay Premack

Aneesh Chopra, the federal government’s first chief technology officer, has pressed the start button on his political career.

Chopra announced last week via social media what had long been rumored — that he is seeking the Democratic nomination as Virginia’s lieutenant governor.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Chopra mentioned his work experience in the federal government and his former position as Virginia’s secretary of technology.

“I am committed to seeding innovative ideas that support a quality workforce and educating Virginians throughout their lifetime to strengthen and maintain a state economy that is built to last,” Chopra said in the statement.

As U.S. CTO, Chopra worked closely with former federal CIO Vivek Kundra to implement new technologies and drive innovation in the federal government.

Much of Chopra’s most important work was done behind the scenes, as he played a leading role in an effort that will create a shared public safety wireless network for the nation, as well as standards for health information exchanges.

Branching out beyond technology and into mainstream politics will be a new endeavor for Chopra, whose only time in the national spotlight, one could argue, was in 2009 when comedian Jon Stewart called Chopra the “Indian George Clooney” in a TV segment about President Barack Obama’s push for open government.

Chopra’s political aspirations will put him in the public eye more often.

Conversation starter: Do former IT officials make good candidates for public office?