Help Bring Congress Into the 21st Century at #Hack4Congress

“In the private sector we’re able to implement solutions, try new things, use open source [technology], whatever we wanted to do . . . Here there’s a very arcane process and it delays technology . . . it really impedes my ability as a Representative to work for the people of the 2nd Congressional District of Colorado.”

–Congressman Jared Polis

 

“Before I came to Congress I worked in the electronics industry, a place where every day we try to find . . .  [ways to make] products more convenient and easier, and access more natural to human beings. That’s something we don’t find in Congress, but it’s something I believe we can bring to Congress.”

–Congressman Darrell Issa

 

Congress can do better.

Let’s make it happen.

 

This weekend over 200 political scientists, designers, journalists, educators, civic technologists, and other experts will gather in Cambridge, Massachusetts to find ways for Congress to operate more efficiently, effectively, and collaboratively.

 

Proposed projects include rethinking the legislative ideation process; designing modern participatory committee hearings; making the legislative process and legislative text more accessible to the public; and building a database for in-office tracking of policymakers’ actions on specific issues.

 

The hackathon is one of two events; the first takes place this weekend at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the second will be in Washington, DC in mid-April. Registration for both events is free.

 

What Congressman Darrell Issa and Congressman Jared Polis have to say about Hack4Congress:

Congressman Jared Polis on Hack4Congress

 

Congressman Darrell Issa on Hack4Congress

 

Why we do what we do

The OpenGov Foundation’s Executive Director said it best on Alexis Ohanian’s Small Empires series:

There are so many people in this country who are brilliant, who have good ideas, who are crying out for government to meet their needs…that aren’t heard because they aren’t rich.  They don’t have lobbyists.  They don’t have influence.  And they don’t get through.  And where technology comes into that is it makes government fundamentally able to listen.” 

 

Join #Hack4Congress. Help us bring our democracy into the 21st Century.

 

More information on projects and registration at Hack4Congress.org.

Co-organized by Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and by The OpenGov Foundation, the event is co-sponsored by The Sunlight Foundation, Congressional Management Foundation, Microsoft New England, Represent.Us, CODE2040, POPVOX, Capitol Bells, Generation Citizen, and the Participatory Politics Foundation.