While Congress often appears to be dysfunctional and stymied by gridlock, there continues to be positive momentum and strong leadership related to policies that encourage American innovation and entrepreneurship. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Charlie Dent, local technology-based economic development entities like the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the University City Science Center (of which Lehigh University, Lafayette College, and East Stroudsburg University are shareholders) will now have access to critical federal funds to assist researchers with developing technologies, forming high-growth, start-up companies and seeking market integration.

For instance, the Science Center is funding a technology being developed at Lehigh that will enable faster, more sensitive eye exams for macular degeneration and glaucoma. Thanks to Dent's support, we can now seek funding to support even more cutting-edge projects like this one.

A federal commitment to innovation is vital to ensure that our nation remains competitive in the international market. We applaud Dent's recognition that technology-based economic development should remain a priority within our federal budget, and thank him for his commitment to engage in bipartisan leadership that supports emerging technologies in the Lehigh Valley and across the commonwealth.

Stephen S. Tang

Philadelphia

The writer is president & CEO of University City Science Center, Philadelphia.

R. Chadwick Paul Jr.

Bethlehem

The writer is president & CEO Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Bethlehem.

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