Brock Pierce ran for president and now for US Senate from Vermont

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Brock Pierce ran for president and now for US Senate from Vermont

Sun, 04/17/2022 - 11:55am -- tim

Brock Pierce with members of the Burlington Fire Department. Courtesy photos. 

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine There’s a new US Senate candidate running in Vermont. And while he’s by no means a household name, you may have seen him on TV talking up cryptocurrency, quoted in the newspaper about his relief work in Puerto Rico or — no lie — appearing in a string of Disney movies in the 1990s. Oh, did we mention running for president in 2020?

His name is Brock Pierce, and he’s set his sights on toppling, among others, Democratic Congressman Peter Welch and former US attorney Christina Nolan, a Republican, in the race to succeed retiring US Senator Patrick Leahy this November.

Now residing in Shelburne, Pierce told VermontBiz that his independent candidacy is a “bold social experiment.” He pledged to serve only one term because he has other personal and professional goals he’d like to pursue.

Pierce, 41, said he is a true independent. He agrees with the “right” on some issues, especially those related to business and the economy, and the left on social issues.

While he acknowledges that winning the election is a long shot, his candidacy, if not an actual victory, would give Vermont a “bigger voice” on the national stage.

This would be a tall order, considering Leahy’s nearly 50-year tenure on Capitol Hill and Senator Bernie Sanders’ national stature with two presidential campaigns and a naturally big voice of his own.

While Pierce praises Sanders and promises to be “bold like Bernie,” he doesn’t see the other major candidates possessing that kind of gravitas.

“They’re further from the bold,” Pierce said, while acknowledging that they are both very credible candidates.

Vermont needs to be bold in the Senate, he said, because the state has only one representative in the House.

“I won’t have a problem being heard,” Pierce said.

Nor will he have a problem being seen.

He is, it’s fair to say, a dapper fellow, with a trim suit, gold jewelry, flowing blond hair and an entourage befitting a celebrity, to back up an abundance of comfortable self-confidence.

Pierce said he’s on a “100-day listening tour” to understand Vermonters’ concerns and to make the media rounds.

Brock Pierce catches up with patrons at the Apple Core in Waterbury.

Given his business success (he’s also had a couple of failures along the way in a career that started as a teenager), he said being heard includes having the means to express one’s ideas on multiple media platforms.

His strength, Pierce said, is that he’s “built things out of nothing,” and for this campaign he is basically starting at ground zero in a race with well-known candidates and a state electorate that tends to be suspicious of potential carpetbaggers.

But Pierce said he remains undaunted and focused on the future.

He recognizes that Vermont has severe issues with telecom and internet connectivity and is just beginning to expand broadband through Communication Union Districts.

He’s also an advocate for clean energy and sees Vermont as a leader already, which he believes can be enhanced.

The way to reach many of these goals, Pierce said, is to incentivize the process, which is where the government can and must help.

For instance, electric vehicles and renewable energy are both incentivized by not only the federal and state governments, but by private entities like the electric utilities.

From Humble Roots

Pierce was born into a middle-class home in Minneapolis. He began his acting career before his teen years, starring in the Disney films “The Mighty Ducks,” “D2: The Mighty Ducks” (as the young Gordon Bombay) and “First Kid.”

At 16, he recognized the internet’s potential and joined the movement to change the world through technology. He soon became a leader in blockchain technology — a modern vehicle for the American dream.

After seeing the devastation Hurricane Maria caused in the northeastern Caribbean in 2017, Pierce formed the Integro Foundation, a not-for-profit philanthropic organization providing resources to Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Islands and indigenous people. With programs designed to revive areas in critical need, Integro works to solve the ecological, economic and social challenges of this region.

Pierce is a thought leader working to harness the power of technology to create a better world. By re-imagining our political, economic and social markets, he believes in tackling scarcity by creating sustainable and environmentally viable opportunities for all Americans. Pierce’s appreciation for the environment led him to build a life with his wife, Crystal, and his children in Vermont.

Brock Pierce with VermontBiz editor Tim McQuiston at the VermontBiz offices in South Burlington March 31, 2022.

Another of his nonprofit organizations, the Brock Pierce Foundation, supports a range of causes, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the Center for Individual Rights, the Brennan Center for Human Rights, as well as the arts and cutting-edge research in medicine and mental health.

Pierce currently serves as vice chair of Marine Toys for Tots for New York, Long Island and Puerto Rico. He also holds two honorary ambassadorships in South Korea related to his international leadership in technology and is president of Kumoh National Institute of Technology, which helps female entrepreneurs advance in the technology industry.

At University of Puerto Rico College of Engineering, Pierce helped found programs in intercultural exchange. In 2019, he was knighted by the Ordine dei Cavalieri di San Martino del Monte delle Beatitudini in acknowledgement of his philanthropic work.

Pierce has been a regular lecturer at Singularity University and has spoken at the Milken Institute Global Conference, the Mobile World Congress, Stanford University, USC and UCLA. His life work has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Wired and Rolling Stone.

Pierce has served as an economic and technology adviser to world leaders and US politicians, helping cities, states and nations craft policies and solutions to sustainably grow their economies and improve the lives of their citizens.