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Senators Amy Klobuchar and Rob Portman Join VOXX Chairman and Founder John Shalam As CEA Digital Patriots

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® honored U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and VOXX International Corp. Chairman and Founder John Shalam for their instrumental roles in supporting and advancing technology innovation at CEA’s tenth annual Digital Patriots Dinner Tuesday night, April 29 in Washington, D.C. The Digital Patriots Dinner was part of CEA’s D.C. Policy Week, aimed at highlighting innovation before members of Congress and the D.C. tech policy community. Other highlights this week included CEA’s Lobby Day, which brought industry executives to Washington to advocate for pro-innovation policies, CEA’s Board of Industry Leaders and Small Business Council meetings, and CES on the Hill, a showcase of technology exhibits that brought the excitement of the CEA-owned and produced International CES® to the nation’s capital.

CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro kicked off the Digital Patriots Dinner with opening remarks encouraging technology developers to share their stories with congressional representatives. “It’s crucial for members of Congress to hear from our members and see, touch and feel the most recent breakthroughs to learn how their policies can help or harm innovation,” he said. Shapiro also highlighted CEA’s efforts over the past year that contributed to the Senate’s passing of a strong immigration bill and the House passing legislation that would end the patent troll scourge.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar confirmed her commitment to immigration reform and patent reform during her acceptance remarks at the Tuesday night Digital Patriots Dinner. “From 2010 to 2012, the percentage of lawsuits filed by patent trolls increased from 29 percent to 62 percent,” she said. “This is a scourge on the economy. We have to get this bill done to protect the U.S. economy, real patent holders and innovation. Our job in Washington is to create the best policy climate for consumer electronics to keep growing and competing.” As a leader on the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, Klobuchar has worked to advance policies that protect consumers from anticompetitive behavior and ensure businesses are able to compete on a level playing field.

Senator Rob Portman was recognized for his leadership in promoting policies to increase economic competitiveness, trade and energy security while stimulating the economy and encouraging private sector job creation. Portman continued the discussion on patent reform during his acceptance remarks, adding that the patent system is “the bedrock for American innovation and, really, economic growth.” He added "it's very helpful to me and to Amy [Klobuchar] and to others who are supporting this legislation to tell our constituents that we're actually slaying trolls! This is something that people think is good."

John Shalam accepted his Digital Patriots award after Shapiro noted his many professional achievements and contributions to CEA including creating CEA’s Wireless Division, heading the Investment Committee, encouraging CEA to buy its headquarters building and serving as chair for the CEA Foundation all while growing a small car radio business into VOXX, a $1 billion global brand. Because Shalam was an Egyptian immigrant, he was nearly forced to leave the U.S. when he graduated from Wharton Business School. He said if he had been sent back, VOXX, a 100 percent American owned company with more than 2,000 employees, would not exist today. "We don't want to turn away brains and talent and have a stagnant economy,” said Shalam. He added, "I encourage Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration bill to bring fresh new blood to the country. Let's ensure America's success as a great and powerful country."

Highlight videos of the 2014 Digital Patriots and event photos can be found here. All proceeds from the Digital Patriots Dinner are being donated to the Fisher House Foundation and the CEA Foundation.

This week’s activities also included a Lobby Day on Wednesday morning where CEA’s Board of Industry Leaders and Small Business Council advocated for the Senate to pass strong patent litigation reform legislation, and CES on the Hill which took place on Wednesday evening at the Rayburn House Office Building. CES on the Hill exposed more than 500 attendees, including 40 members of Congress, to technology companies and products at the center of some of the most critical, current technology policy debates.

Exhibit highlights included BlackBerry’s QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment software; DISH and EchoStar’s latest models of the DISH Hopper®; Google’s Glass™; LG’s brand new 79” 4K Ultra HDTV; Microsoft’s Project Spark interactive video game; Panasonic’s 4K technologies, heads-up driver safety display system and weather forecasting solutions; Qualcomm’s demonstration of wireless solutions for education; RideScout’s free mobile application available on iOS and Android that provides real-time, on-demand information and connection to available ride options; and Samsung’s new curved 65” Ultra HDTV. Other CES on the Hill exhibitors included:

CES on the Hill exhibitor products and technologies are highlighted in this video.

Note to Editors: The official name of the global technology event is “International CES.” Subsequent references to the show can be shortened to “CES.” Please do not use “Consumer Electronics Show” to refer to the International CES.

About CES:

The International CES is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years—the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. As the largest hands-on event of its kind, CES features all aspects of the industry. And because it is owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the technology trade association representing the $208 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry, it attracts the world’s business leaders and pioneering thinkers to a forum where the industry’s most relevant issues are addressed. Follow CES online at www.CESweb.org and through social media: http://www.cesweb.org/social.


  • 2014 Technology & Standards Spring Forum
    May 19-23, 2014, Seattle, WA
  • CES Unveiled Warsaw
    June 17, 2014, Warsaw, Poland
  • CE Week
    June 23-27, 2014, New York, NY
    • CE Week Exhibits
      June 25-26, 2014, New York, NY
  • CEA Innovate!
    Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2014, Phoenix, AZ
  • CES Unveiled Paris
    October 22, 2014, Paris, France
  • CE Hall of Fame Dinner
    November 10, 2014, New York, NY
  • CES Unveiled New York
    November 11, 2014, New York, NY
  • CES Unveiled Las Vegas
    January 4, 2015, Las Vegas, NV
  • 2015 International CES
    January 6-9, 2015, Las Vegas, NV

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