At the event, I was able to meet all of the people responsible for the sites I use all the time when talking about Representative Scott Garrett (OpenSecrets.org, Tax Payers for Common Sense, Govtrack.us); as well as some I hadn't fully explored (FollowTheMoney.org, OpenCongress.org, Sunshine Week). It was truly one of those amazing life experiences.
What I took away from the convention was a better understanding of how all of these sites worked, internal government issues getting in the way, as well as what to look forward to (there’s a doozey dropping in a few weeks) and a renewed sense of purpose.
A few projects of particular interest to are:
- Readthebill.org: Requesting bills to be posted 72 hours before voting (sign the petition).
- 50 State Project by Sunlight Labs: Every bill, every vote, every state.
- Show Us the Data: Joint effort between the Open The Government and the Center for Democracy and Technology to unlock government data we should have.
With newspapers dying, and television becoming more of a reactionary as opposed to pro-active force, we’re what’s going to be left. In that sense, I really hope those of you that do blog will take advantage of Sunshine Week, to learn about the tools they have available.
At the end of the day it’s our government, our money they're spending, and our data that could save lives. It was an amazing weekend, and I hope if nothing else, my attendance will make this a more useful and accurate source of information than folks have already told me it is.