Have an idea for how your lawmaker can update you on his or her latest bill via Twitter? Think you have a better way for your representative to “friend” constituents on Facebook? The new “House Technology Operations Team” wants to hear from you. But, wait, what exactly is a “House Technology Operations Team” anyways?
That would be the latest effort from U.S. House Republicans to reach constituents and voters where they are: social networks and the Web.
With the aim of enhancing external communications technology and increasing the dialogue between members and voters, the House’s first “Technology Operations Team” has been formed, announced in a statement released by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“A critical component of House Republicans’ Pledge to America was the promise to reform Congress and restore public trust in the institution. New technology and digital media are an important part of that process and are helping to enhance the way we serve our constituents,’ the speaker said in the statement.
The team, to be led by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, is charged with creating ways for constituents to communicate with lawmakers via tech tools.
“I’ve asked Rep. Chaffetz to lead a team of his colleagues in finding new ways to use technology to make Congress more open, efficient and responsive to the American people,” Boehner explained.
In a YouTube video, Boehner and Chaffetz acknowledge that Congress has not been good about using all the digital tools at its disposal. Pledging to change that, they say they want to “bring Congress into the 21st century,” and “use new tools to bring Congress closer to the people it represents.”
And they want your help.
Constituents are encouraged to respond to the YouTube video with comments and suggestions, and follow the team’s progress on Facebook by “liking” the Pledge to America on Facebook
The effort led by Chaffetz is said to be bi-partisan but, so far, only Republicans have been invited to join.
Members of the team include Committee on House Administration chairman Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), GOP Conference Vice Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio).
Exactly what constituents have in mind for those members remains to be seen. So far, the YouTube video has not quite gone viral, counting just under 80 views and no comments.