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Reform MyGov To Crowdsource Policy Solutions From Americans, Shift Power Away From Special Interest Groups And Lobbyists

In 2010, ChallengePost was named as the official government contractor to create a crowd-sourcing / contest platform for government agencies.

A short time later, a website launched called Challenge.gov.

Though it has been scaled back over the last few years, Challenge.gov’s mission has been to be a place where government agencies could voluntarily bypass the often cumbersome contracting process, and instead offer contests to help crowd-source solutions for some of their needs.

The General Services Administration (GSA), which launched and still manages the site, opened it up for free several years ago to any agency that wanted to challenge “the public to innovate or solve a problem.” Agencies could still use their own providers or platform (for example, NASA), and were under no requirement or mandate to the use system.

What was and is great about this concept, is that any government agency need could be shared as a contest – complete with rules, prizes, judges, etc. And any need was on the table, such as: an app, an infographic using agency data, a recipe, a microsite, an improvement to an existing product or service, and more.

It was all about breaking down a barrier to success through crowd-sourcing, and using the skills, knowledge, and talents of Americans to create solutions to government challenges.

Why not crowd-source policy solutions from Americans?

The concept of Challenge.gov is a positive step in the direction of better e-government.

However, more needs to be done to balance the growing influence from special interest groups and lobbyists on legislation at the federal and state level. In some research, that level of influence has been estimated at over 90% of ALL legislation that the U.S. Congress addresses.

In my view, the American people deserve to have a stronger voice in government.

The Reform MyGov website and crowd-sourcing platform is going to be a step in that direction.

Here is part of what I am seeking to develop:

A platform that:

  • Provides a way for people to register, and create a basic or advanced user profile that includes but is not limited to: first name and last name, a valid e-mail for authentication, city, state and zip code of primary residence, business or organization, if they are a registered lobbyist or agent / executive of a corporation, and a picture.
  • Integrates with, scrapes, or shares the latest legislation available in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as well as legislation being considered at a state level.
  • Allows a person, once registered, to view proposed legislation, general policy areas, or policy concepts, and submit either amendments, full legislation, or legislative / policy concepts for others to view and consider.
  • Enables a person to forward their suggestion to specific policy-makers for their consideration via e-mail (potentially limiting such submissions based on a certain volume per month or per week, and potentially allowing advanced users the ability to send more with a higher tier membership) OR allowing them to print and mail such proposals to them at their own expense.
  • Allows people to simply vote on policy concepts or specific bills that they favor, and add comments to those proposals.
  • Allows people to look-up their elected representative, and view their positions on specific bills or policy concepts.
  • Allows people to view all registered political opponents to their elected representative, and view their positions on specific bills or policy concepts.
  • Allows people to view proposals from organizations, corporations, or special interest groups.
  • Requires people who are lobbyists, or agents of a specific organization or company, to register as lobbyists or agents with the site, so users know what external factors may impact why a person favors or opposes a specific proposal / bill.
  • Other features not listed here.

If this is of interest to you, or you have ideas on requirements that will make this platform stronger, please e-mail me at: michaelhackmer@reformmygov.com

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