Federal and State Policymaker Awards

The Federal and State Policymaker Awards honor elected and appointed policymakers at both the state and federal levels who have championed equitable access to technology and the effective use of technology in K-12 education.




Federal Policymaker

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks

SETDA honors Commissioner Starks for his longtime support of the E-Rate program and as a champion for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which has enrolled more than 20 million households as of August 2023. Commissioner Starks has consistently advocated for broadband deployment in rural areas because he understands that equal access leads to resources and opportunities that the internet provides.

Read the full press release here.

Federal Policymaker Honorees

2022 Senator Patty Murray
Congressman Jerry McNerney
California (9th District)
2021 Senator Gary Peters Michigan
2020 Congresswoman Grace Meng New York
2019 Senator Jacky Rosen Nevada
2018 Senator Ed Markey Massachusetts
2016 Congressman Dave Loebsack Iowa
2015 Senator Tammy Baldwin Wisconsin
2014 Congressman Jared Polis Colorado
2013 Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Federal Communications Commmission
2012 Senator Olympia Snowe Maine
2011 Senator Patty Murray Washington
2010 Senator Jeff Bingaman New Mexico
2009 Congressman George Miller California
2008 Senator John D. Rockefeller IV West Virgina
2007 Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard
Senator Richard Burr
North Carolina
2006 Senator Tom Harkin Iowa
2005 Senator Orrin Hatch Utah
2004 Senator Arlen Spector Pennsylvania


State Policymakers

New Mexico Public Education Secretary Arsenio Romero
Former New Mexico Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus

This year’s award honors Dr. Steinhaus and Dr. Romero for creating an environment in which technology is an integral part of New Mexico’s public education system. In 2022, Dr. Steinhaus began updating the Technology in Education Act. He retired before he could see the updated legislation, now the Digital Equity in Education Act, passed and signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on July 1, 2023. Dr. Romero came to the Department after serving as superintendent of Los Lunas Public Schools. He completed the work started by Dr. Steinhaus to get the Digital Equity in Education Act passed and signed into law.

Read the full press release here.

State Policymaker Honorees

2021 State Superintendent Dr. Sydnee Dickson Utah
2018 Governor Rick Synder
State Superintendent Brian Whiston (posthumous award)
2017 State Superintendent Jillian Balow Wyoming
2016 Dale Erquiaga, Office of Governor Nevada
2015 Education Commissioner David C. Hespe
Chief Innovation Officer, Assistant Commissioner Evo Popoff
New Jersey
2012 State Superintendent Tom Torlakson California
2011 State Superintendent Dr. Patricia Wright Virginia
2010 State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson North Carolina
2009 Director Judy Jeffrey Iowa
2008 State Superintendent Dr. Joseph Morton Alabama
2007 State Superintendent Michael Flanagan Michigan
2006 Assistant State Superintendent Dr. Jorea Marple West Virginia
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