Carly Fiorina has never held elected office. She started out as a secretary for a small real estate business and ultimately wound up as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. On the campaign trail she talks often of her humble beginnings in the business world. She also talks about losing a child and battling cancer.
In just fifteen years from the time Fiorina started as an entry-level employee she found herself leading AT&T’s spin-off of Lucent Technologies and, later, Lucent’s North American operations. Then in 1999, Hewlett-Packard hired Fiorina to be the new Chief Executive Officer, a position she would hold until 2005. As CEO of HP, she was the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 business. During her tenure at HP company revenues doubled, the growth rate of the company more than quadrupled, the innovation rate tripled with an average of 11 patens issued a day, and the company moved from the 28th largest company in the U.S. to the 11th largest company in the U.S.
After leaving HP after being released by the Board of Directors, decided to run for United States Senate from the State of California, taking on Senator Barbra Boxer (D-CA). The decision to run for Senate as a Republican in California was always going to be an uphill battle, at best. But Fiorina could never have predicted just how much of a struggle this time would present for her personally. During the campaign Fiorina also battled breast cancer, a battle she won. Sadly, at the same time, she and her husband Frank suffered a terrible tragedy when they lost their younger daughter, Lori.
Fiorina has served in a number of advisory and policy-making positions for national and state governments. She has also led a number of charities and nonprofits, serving as the Chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation, which annually hosts CPAC; the Chairman of the world’s largest product philanthropy organization; and the Chairman of a Christian faith-based organization that helps lift millions out of poverty worldwide.
Fiorina says she will move all agencies to zero-based budgeting so that every agency has to justify every dollar that is spent. She also believes taxes should be lower and the federal government should be a meritocracy, not a seniority based system. She is pro-life and is a gun-owner who believes in the Second Amendment.
While her campaign website does not seem to address issues of patents, technology or innovation, or even much about the economy, Fiorina did give a speech at the Newseum on March 4, 2015, in which she criticized the Innovation Act (H.R. 9), saying that it would benefit large companies, but not innovators. Fiorina explained that if the Innovation Act were to become law Thomas Edison would be considered a patent troll under. “Some of our greatest inventors would be patent trolls under this law,” Fiorina explained. “Our universities would be patent trolls. We are fixing problems that don’t exist.” She would go on to ask who benefits from patent reform, answering her question she said: “It is not the individual inventor or entrepreneur. It is not the new startup. It is not the small business struggling to find its way. It is not the engine of growth and innovation in this country.”