New Google-Like Tool Transforms Government’s Relationship with Advocacy Orgs

Too often, well-financed groups have the inside track in California for funding and policy. Thanks to the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at Cal Poly, this has changed.

by Sam Blakeslee / May 20, 2015

A new Google-like search engine that is transforming the relationship between advocacy organizations and their government just went live. It’s called Digital Democracy. The LA Times says Digital Democracy is, “making democracy more accessible to millennials and everyone else,” the San Francisco Chronicle boasts, “the site will open up the world of lobbying in a way not seen before.” And The Sacramento Bee calls the platform a “valuable tool to let citizens learn who is influencing legislators and how.”

Think of it as a searchable, sharable video engine for California government. It’s like C-SPAN, Google and Facebook for politics all rolled into one. Too often, well-financed groups have the inside track in Sacramento for funding and policy. Thanks to students at the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy (IATPP) at Cal Poly, this has changed.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and I launched Digital Democracy at the State Capitol earlier this month for advocates like Jim Roberts. For decades, Jim has fought for foster children. Now, instead of driving five hours to Sacramento just to sit in on committee hearings, now Jim can be part of the legislative process without leaving his office.

This new tool only works if people like you take advantage of it. That is why we are hoping you will check out Digital Democracy and see what’s possible. We will be rolling out new features on the site in the coming weeks and months, so be sure to check it out and stay tuned!

Sam Blakeslee Ph.D is the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He is a former California state senator and assembly minority leader.

This story was originally published by Techwire