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Bold Ideas for Public Engagement with Congress

If you are interested in improving how citizens and Congress communicate, I’d like to point you to the Open Model for Citizen Engagement (OM4CE), started by Wayne Burke, the visionary executive director of the Open Forum Foundation.

Whether you are involved with elected representatives at the federal, state, or local level, there are some bold ideas swirling around in these conversations that you’ll probably find as intriguing as I do.  Person-for-person, this is the most inspired group of optimists and realists I have met who care passionately about doing something to improve public engagement on Capitol Hill.

OM4CE is a unique collaborative effort; it started as a workshop among the major technology vendors that currently supply Congress with tools to engage the public.  The purpose of the workshop was to find out where these competing companies could work together to substantially improve how citizens and Congress interact.

Development of the Open Model is ongoing, and it’s divided into working groups that focus on various aspects of the project.  I’ve volunteered to lead the Map Working Group which is charged with creating several visualizations of the problems of the current paradigm.  Here’s our first draft diagram, and it would be great to have your feedback.

Based off the above list of problems, what did the diagram miss and what needs adjustment?  From your perspective, how do you see the communication between citizens and Congress?  What needs to change?

If you’re interested in these types of discussions, I recommend joining one of the working groups to help take these ideas to the next level.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me directly at lucas@onlinetownhalls.com.

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Lucas Cioffi
Lucas Cioffi graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Having served one year in Baghdad as an infantry officer, he realizes the need for effective dialogue and deliberation in preventing conflict. He is passionate about advanced online deliberative platforms and is co-founder of AthenaBridge.com.

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