About Daniel Bennett

Daniel Bennett will be an effective representative for you in the West Virginia State Capitol. From his West Virginia connections and history, to his record of inspired problem solving, and being a caregiver to his late wife, Daniel Bennett has shown the hard work and dedication that we need in Charleston. Like many of our neighbors who moved here to live in our world class district,  Daniel has brought his talents and love of West Virginia. 

 

Inspired Problem Solver

Daniel Bennett works together with people to solve difficult problems. His solutions have helped save taxpayers and businesses billions of dollars and helped small businesses to better use technology to thrive. 

While working for the U.S. Congress in 1995, the dawn of the World Wide Web, Daniel was asked to come up with a solution to allow citizens to use the web to get help from the Congresswoman. Up till then, citizens would have to sign a paper form, to get the process started of helping them with VA benefits, Social Security issues, and many others. No one knew how to put a signature on a web form. Daniel realized that this was a legal issue, more than a technical one. He asked his boss, the Congresswoman if he could draft legislation to make an electronic signature legal. And when she said yes, he spent the following year researching and talking with the top experts in law and technology on how to shape the law. 

Daniel Bennett also made sure that all government agencies would put their forms online so that they could be signed and submitted electronically. Working with the American Bar Association, top business associations, technology companies and consumer protection groups, Daniel drafted a bill that was passed into law within about a year. That was followed up with legislation that allowed companies and consumers to sign contracts online.

There are numerous other examples of Daniel’s problem solving, of working hard, working across the political aisle, hearing from experts and citizens, to come up with inspired solutions to help improve lives and save money. 

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Legislative Experience

Daniel Bennett drafted and led the effort to pass the Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1998 (GPEA). This law is saving taxpayers and businesses billions of dollars every year by forcing the federal government to put up almost all forms online so that they can be signed and submitted online. Based on that legislation, Daniel co-drafted the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 (ESIGN). Both laws passed with overwhelming support by the Republican leadership and the Democratic White House. Thanks to a provision of ESIGN that carved out a states’ right of jurisdiction, West Virginia passed SB204 in 2001.

Daniel was a legislative aide on high technology legislation working for a Congresswoman on the powerful Commerce Committee. Daniel also oversaw the computer correspondence system and helped respond to thousands of letters, faxes and emails from constituents. 

Daniel Bennett also advised the Clerk of the House of Representatives many times on how to better publish laws, reports and other legislative documents. He was asked to speak at several Legislative Data and Transparency Conferences in the US Capitol. Daniel was the project leader for the effort to modernize the publishing of Committee Hearing Reports. 

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Award Winning Technology Expert

Starting in the 1970’s in middle school, Daniel Bennett, has been a geek. Whether writing software that won a prize at the computing fair in high school, to installing a hard drive in his parents' IBM PC, to creating a computer database to track equipment in his job in college, Daniel has made technology better work for people.

As an intern at the SEIU headquarters in 1990, Daniel set up a database and system for tracking and scheduling hundreds of nurses who were in town to meet their elected representatives. Working for the Congresswoman who represents Silicon Valley, Daniel pioneered the use of the Internet to communicate with citizens. Daniel was elected by his peers, Republicans and Democrats, to lead the House Systems Administrators Association. As its president, he worked hard to help offices through the technology transitions including promoting the use of the Web to bring sunlight to documents that previously had to be purchased from the Government Printing Office. 

Daniel Bennett worked with both Republican and Democratic leadership to harness the power of computers and the Internet. He co-chaired with the Republican led Committee on House Administration the first government wide conference on using XML (like HTML) for legislative documents. As an invited expert at the W3C (the organization that oversees HTML), Daniel was the lead editor of their recommendations on how governments should publish web documents. 

Daniel Bennett has provided technology consultation for many government entities including the US Senate, the US Congress, the White House, Social Security Administration, Veterans Association, and local governments. Daniel Bennett won the Federal Computing Week’s Fed 100 Award for drafting and helping pass the Government Paperwork Elimination Act.

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Small Business Experience 

From his twenties on, Daniel has had extensive experience with small businesses. From providing consulting services to small firms, to working at photography mom and pop businesses, to later founding a tech company with two partners, Daniel understands how difficult it is for businesses to get a fair break. Watch Marty Block describe his partnership with Daniel about the small business that they founded together. 

Daniel Bennett was the Chief Technology Officer for a firm that provided Internet services and products. One of Daniel’s products was the featured cover story for the magazine, Campaigns and Elections. 

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Author and Speaker

Daniel Bennett co-wrote the book The Net Effect: How Cyberadvocacy is Changing the Political Landscape in 1999. West Virginia former Governor and Senator Jay Rockefeller wrote the forward to the book. 

The editors of the prestigious National Journal asked Daniel to be a columnist for their first website, The Cloakroom for which he wrote many columns about how technology was being used on Capitol Hill. 

Daniel has been an invited speaker for several conferences and lectures, from dozens at the US Capitol, to MIT Media Lab, and other universities. Daniel was a Practitioner in Residence at George Washington University’s Institute of Politics, Democracy and the Internet. 

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Caregiver

In 2006, Sue Charen, Daniel’s wife, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. For the next eleven years, Daniel was her caregiver and patient advocate. Through numerous hospitalizations, Sue received top notch care mainly at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In addition to always being at her bedside, Daniel had to learn how to take care of an immunosuppressed patient. 

Daniel attended as many of the sessions that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) as he could attend to better learn how to be his wife’s advocate. LLS sent Daniel to the Mayo Clinic’s Symposium of Health Care Reform to be a voice of patients and caregivers. 

Throughout the many years, Sue asked Daniel to maintain a blog ( www.suecharen.com ) to help friends and family informed. As Sue was a pioneering patient and living years past her doctors expectations. However, despite surviving the leukemia, Sue succumbed to a respiratory illness. 

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Coming to West Virginia 

Like many of the residents of our district, Daniel came to West Virginia to escape to a rural area with community spirit. He came to West Virginia often while growing up, attending camp, living on a WV farm for a summer, and enjoying the outdoors many times, Daniel and his late wife moved to the area to find a calm and healing home. 

Daniel quickly became involved in local issues, working to protect a local coffee shop when an out of state company tried to shut it down. Daniel worked on a project for the Robert C. Byrd Center for ​Congressional History and Education at Shepherd University. Later, Daniel worked on Senator Joe Manchin’s reelection campaign. 

Daniel has been a volunteer instructor for at Shepherd University’s Lifelong Learning Program, as well as being a lecturer. Daniel has become known for the carrot cakes for silent auctions he has made for several charities and non-profit organizations. Daniel is also on the Board of the Friends of NCTC (National Conservation Training Center).

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