“Seamus Kraft, executive director of the OpenGov Foundation, began by reminding the audience that the best ways for the public to engage with their representatives in Congress are in person or via telephone, which are methods from the 1950s. He said the legislative branch needs 21st-century technology to better facilitate this contact. Congressional offices are experiencing increased constituent correspondence while member office budgets endure cuts.
“The House of Representatives spent more than $200 million last year on technology, so it’s not the amount spent, but the technology itself that is woefully inadequate. The OpenGov Foundation’s solution is a Congressional Digital Service, similar to the executive branch’s U.S. Digital Service, to diagnose the problems. No one knows the appropriate response time to a constituent correspondence made via social media or the telephone. Kraft believes that we’ll see a Congressional Digital Service in this Congress and recommends that it sit outside partisan politics—for example, in the Library of Congress.”