Influencers 2010

Influencer: Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.

Many Important Marketing Initiatives Hang on His Opinions, and So Far, the Ad Industry Likes What It Sees

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- The Republican takeover of the House of Representatives will be perhaps most visible for marketers in the Energy and Commerce Committee, where a new man will be wielding the gavel of the influential panel. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., takes over for Henry Waxman, D-Calif., on Jan. 5 and so far advertisers seem pleased with the new chairman.

Rep. Fred Upton
Rep. Fred Upton
"He has always been somebody we have worked well with who understands the advertising area," said Dan Jaffe, exec VP-government relations for the Association of National Advertisers. "He's a guy who aims before he fires."

The change is likely to be apparent from day one on issues followed closely by the ad industry -- look no further than the proposed Comcast-NBC Universal merger. Rep. Waxman has sought conditions ensuring net neutrality, such as ensuring Comcast-NBCU does not guarantee a higher level of service for its own video-on-demand offerings over competing video services delivered over its network. Rep. Upton says he is concerned that net neutrality regulations could "smother private investment and innovation, which have allowed the internet to flourish."

Of course, Rep. Upton's influence only goes so far. Legislation approved by his committee must still pass the Democratic-controlled Senate and get the signature of President Barack Obama.