Self-governance is hard — and it is getting harder. When Congress first convened in 1789, the nation entrusted its lawmaking powers to just 79 people. Today Americans elect 541 federal lawmakers who then hire tens of thousands of staff members to help them write law and connect with constituents, lobbyists, and campaign supporters. The laws they write are hundreds or thousands of pages of unintelligible instructions to the nation’s codifiers and check-writers.
It is a hot mess. But it’s our mess.
My goal with GovTrack.us is to enable Americans, including congressional staff, to more effectively carry-out our self-government responsibilities. As Mark Schmitt recently asked, “how do we reform American politics so that [our] pluralistic vision . . . might actually describe reality?”
On April 30-May 1, join me, The OpenGov Foundation, Harvard’s Ash Center, and other colleagues for #Hack4Congress in DC where we’ll try to make our mess of self-governance just a little bit tidier. — Register Here
We’re going to problem-solve how we can make self-governance better. That includes both issues we face as citizens keeping Congress accountable as well as issues faced by congressional staff as they do their best to represent their constituents.
Who should come? Anyone with a passion for Congress is welcome. If you like to imagine and design products, research wonky but very real problems, translate techno-speak, or develop software, you will be welcome. You can be a hobbyist or a professional.
The event culminates with a presentation session before a panel of judges (I’ll be one) who are practitioners, scholars and others active in the civic tech and data space. Finalists will present their solutions to high-level congressional representatives this spring.
This is the third event in the #Hack4Congress series — the previous were in Boston and San Francisco.