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Redefining Political Tech & Civic Participation

#sxsw #politics

The internet has transformed industries ranging widely from music to travel to retail, but in 2013 the way we govern ourselves continues to conform to the practices that early citizen farmers would recognize. Technology is making it possible to fundamentally reframe the way we can engage with each other and with the representatives elected to represent us in government, but this potential to redefine governance practices is yet to be fully realized. This panel is a conversation between participants representing tech companies, academia and political campaigns about the future of technology, government and political engagement.



Betsy Hoover Dir of Online Organizing Obama for America

Betsy Hoover is an organizer by nature and training and has become passionate about the opportunity organizers have by finding and motivating people online.

She most recently served as the Online Organizing Director for the Obama Campaign, helping the organization think about and manage the intersection between online and offline organizing. She worked with all our state digital programs, our online engagement tools (including Dashboard and the online call tool), and all campaign constituency programs.

Prior to the 2012 campaign, Betsy worked at the Democratic National Committee with Organizing for America, on the 08 campaign in the field, and with Sojourners/Call to Renewal as their development associate. She is excited to be here and have a conversation about what we can do in this space.

You can follow her on Twitter at @betsyhoover.

Ginny Hunt Principal Strategy & Civic Innovation Google

Ginny Hunt is the Principal for Strategy and Civic Innovation at Google. She also leads Google’s Politics & Elections team, which works around the world to spur civic engagement, open societies and political innovation. Ginny was an early member of Google’s Washington DC office and started Google’s Public Sector Product and Engineering team. She advises startups, political leaders and nonprofits on how to develop digital political strategies.

Jennifer Pahlka Founder Code for America

Jennifer Pahlka is the founder and executive director of Code for America, which works with talented web professionals and cities around the country to promote public service and reboot government. Government Technology named her one of 2011’s Doers, Dreamers and Drivers in Public Sector Innovation and the Huffington Post named her the top Game Changer in Business and Technology the same year. She is known for her TED talk, Coding a Better Government, and is an Ashoka Fellow. She spent eight years at CMP Media where she ran the Game Developers Conference, Game Developer magazine, and the Independent Games Festival. Previously, she ran the Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 events for TechWeb, in conjunction with O’Reilly Media, and co-chaired the successful Web 2.0 Expo. Jennifer’s early career was spent in the non-profit sector. She is a graduate of Yale University and lives in Oakland, Calif. with her daughter and eight chickens.

Nick Grossman Scholar MIT: Center for Civic Media

Nick is a technologist and entrepreneur working at the intersection of the web and urban, social and civic systems.

He is currently the “Activist in Residence” at Union Square Ventures, where he works on public policy and regulatory issues facing “peer networks” on the web. He is also a visiting scholar at the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab, where he studies the effects of media and technology on civic engagement.

Previously, Nick led an incubator for technology & media initiatives at OpenPlans -- producing advocacy media properties focused on urban policy, building web applications to spark engagement in local civic issues, and building open source and open data businesses serving the public sector.

Nick blogs at and tweets at @nickgrossman. He is a graduate of Stanford University.