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Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MoveOn.org

Rather than letting tech jobs head overseas, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) thinks he has a better idea: Send them to the Midwest. The Silicon Valley congressman is working with private industry as well as individual figures in tech to build out a job-training program in a small Iowa town.

The big picture: Both the public and lawmakers are paying increased attention to the disparities between tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle, which have enjoyed massive economic booms, and the rest of the country.

Details: Khanna, whose district includes part of the area south of San Francisco, will travel to Iowa this week to help roll out the initiative, which is an attempt to create a pipeline between talent in Jefferson, Iowa, and an Accenture-owned software company called Pillar Technology (with offices in Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa as well as Palo Alto, Calif.).

  • Khanna said in an interview this week that he connected an executive at Pillar with people in tech, including Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott — who is donating some of his personal fortune to fund scholarships for students in Jefferson.
  • “In my view, if this works, if this can be seen as a Silicon Valley-rural partnership that creates jobs, economic opportunity, it is a win-win [and can be replicated] …you could really start to bring back a lot of the jobs that were outsourced and you can start to empower communities across America,” he said.
  • The event will involve representatives from Google as well as smaller firms, according to Khanna’s office.
  • The effort also includes public funding, according to the Des Moines Register.

Khanna has spent some of his first term visiting parts of the country that the tech-driven economic boom has left behind, including parts of West Virginia and Paintsville, Kentucky.

Yes, but: Most members of Congress focus on creating jobs in their own districts, not many states over. Khanna defends his work, saying his constituents will welcome it.

  • He said people in his district worry about how rapid growth in the Bay Area had increased home prices and ramped up traffic, and voters supported local candidates who share those concerns in the recent midterms.
  • “They would say our country is broken, we missed something big, the elites of this country missed something big,” Khanna said. “We need to bring people into the digital economy.”

Go deeper

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro.

4 hours ago - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.