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Rep. Honda Rocking the Web

June 7, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) is blazing trails in the ways Members of Congress use the internet. He recently introduced a new education bill, the STEM Act of 2008, and in the announcement on his official House website, he makes use of some interactive Web 2.0 technologies, including an OpenCongress widget to track the bill’s status.

The widget automatically keeps Honda’s constituents up to date with the latest developments as the bill moves through Congress. It also links to the blog and news coverage we’re gathering about it, as well as to the bill’s OpenCongress page, where people can engage with this and other legislation many different levels. Honda also posted a link to his Blogger page, calling for the public to add their comments about the bill. This all may seem pretty standard, but for members of Congress, who are burdened by outdated rules that prevent them from using any non-congressionally provided services, what Honda’s doing is groundbreaking.

“Websites like OpenCongress allow us to more effectively communicate the work being done in Congress, and simultaneously learn from the wisdom of the crowds,” said Rob Pierson, the Online Communications Director for Congressman Mike Honda, in an email. “Working for a Member who represents Silicon Valley, I’m excited about how innovative websites like yours are using technology to empower citizens to more fully engage in our nation’s democratic dialogue.”

We hope other House and Senate offices will follow Honda’s lead and make use of the Web to build public knowledge and participation in the lawmaking process. Thanks for being a leading member of the avant-garde, Mr. Honda!

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