Now at TechNet, Ramsey maintains focus on broadband, innovation

"The key questions are, how comprehensive is it and is it implementable?" he said. "I believe government has to play a role here. The stakes are just too high not to..."

"Look at the phone system. It was subsidized by the government because we as a nation thought it was that important at one point," he said. "Look at our roads--also subsidized. This is the same. It's part of our infrastructure."

Ramsey says he's in the process of putting TechNet's goals in writing, but education, workforce issues, cybersecurity, patent reform, broadband and clean tech are going to be the high-level priorities.

"You're going to see a tight list of actionable goals from us," he said. "We'll partner with other groups on issues we won't take a deep dive into."

At a time when controversial debates are pitting some technology companies against each other, Ramsey said he will focus on finding some sort of agreement.

"We don't want to knife-fight each other," he said. "Instead of us all shouting at Congress, sometimes we can find common ground--there ought to be more of that in Washington."

TechNet has offices in Sacramento, Austin, Seattle and New England. The organization languished last year when former CEO Lezlee Westine left in April. Now Ramsey has to ramp things up quickly.

He says he intends to involve NGOs, non-profits and companies from other sectors in campaigns on Capitol Hill.

Ramsey says he's not the "traditional" pick for the job. He's never worked directly in politics--although he was offered a political appointment in the Obama administration. But he said he truly believes the tech industry is "inexorably linked to the health of this country."

"Broadband is our oxygen and innovation is our currency," he said.