Home Your Government Needs You: Re-design Congress Online

Your Government Needs You: Re-design Congress Online

Yesterday on the O’Reilly Radar blog, House Representative Mike Honda (D-San Jose), called out for suggestions and guidance for ways to better utilize technology to get the public involved with U.S. government.

His post, entitled Request for ideas: Crowdsourcing the Evolution of Congressional Websites opened with this plea:

How can Congress take advantage of web 2.0 technologies to transform the relationship between citizens and government? Instead of viewing the public as a customer for services, I believe that we should empower citizens to become our partners in shaping the future of our nation.

Rep. Honda cites several ongoing efforts in this regard, such as Tim O’Reilly’s original request (which made a headline on Slashdot) as well as his prior legislation on allowing more access to legislative databases. He sees this as steps toward getting to the concept of government 2.0, where technology plays a greater role in allowing collaboration between congress members and the public.

This is an open call for your thoughts and suggestions on the legislative databases that should be made accessible, as well as how that data could be used to drive innovative approaches on policy and ‘shape the future of the nation’. There are a number of ways you can participate in this open call: you can submit ideas via this surveymonkey link, use the #honda2.0 and #opengov hashtags in your tweets, and, of course, leave a comment on the original article.

We did a quick search of tweets related to Rep. Honda’s post and found a couple: One pointed to the Sunlight Foundation, co-founded by Ellen Miller (@ellnmllr), a site dedicated to open government accountability, and the League of Technical Voters, a site created and maintained by Silona Bonewald (@silona), which is geared toward technical efforts to improve lawmaking and governmental processes. We hope that with congress members such as Rep. Honda and others coming on board, this effort can really pick up steam and end up creating a more transparent and responsive government in the future.

Uncle Sam image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Rep. Honda image courtesy of O’Reilly Radar’s Mike Honda profile page.

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