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Uber hires more former politicians to champion its cause

A new public policy board includes two former White House staffers and ex-European VP Neelie Kroes
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Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for TechCrunch

One of the ways that Uber is hoping to win over policy makers is to hire other policy makers to act as its representatives. The firm has formed a public policy advisory board that'll help improve Uber's service and provide outreach to legislators across the globe. The latest bunch of former politicos to sign up with the ride-sharing startup include two former White House staffers and a retired ex-VP from the European Commission. It's the latter that'll be familiar to Engadget readers, since Neelie Kroes (pictured) spearheaded several tech-friendly directives over on the continent. Most notably, she spearheaded the campaign to eliminate roaming charges for mobile users as they travel between member states.

Other members of this new board include Ray LaHood, who served as US Secretary of Transportation between 2009 and 2013. He'll be joined by Melody Barnes, who headed up the domestic policy council for the Obama administration between 2009 and 2012. This isn't the first time that Uber has courted major figures from government to switch to its team, either, forming a safety board in the wake of several controversial news stories. Rather than simply improving its background checking procedures, it hired Ed Davis, Boston's former police commissioner, (amongst others) to advise on how to make its rides safer.

The news was announced by Uber's chief advisor and former Obama campaign manager, David Plouffe, who revealed that the first meeting of the panel took place this week. He went on to explain that Uber feels that transportation policy has played "second fiddle" to other areas of government, like education, the economy and healthcare. That, he says, is a bad thing because getting people from place to place is a key component of everything else. Uber thinks that it can help, too, since it can "significantly improve transportation in cities at no extra cost to the taxpayer." Except, you know, for all of the extra police work.

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