When Edward Snowden released thousands of classified NSA documents, Travis Moore was tasked with learning about the information fast. As the former legislative director for U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, Moore scrambled to find technical expertise on bulk metadata, the NSA’s programs, and the implications of the breach. Ultimately, he had to look outside the halls of Congress.
With tech-related issues continuing to gain importance, the experience left him looking to bring more expertise to the Capitol Hill. Moore created TechCongress, a 13-month fellowship that places technologists either in congressional offices or committees to provide knowledge on various legislation, emerging technologies, and concerns.
From now until September 28, TechCongress will accept applications for next year’s cohort. According to Moore, successful candidates possess three traits:
TechCongress is a young program, having only started in 2015, but they’ve already stumbled upon interesting takeaways. One was the level of veteran interest. In their first year, three of their top five candidates included veterans. Two of them later became inaugural fellows. For 2017, Moore and his team plan to focus on bringing in more veterans and diversifying their program with more female fellows.
When we listed Quorum at the top of the realLIST in February, cofounder Alex Wirth told Technical.ly that the Trump administration put “a new focus on the importance of their work.” Wirth and company are expanding capabilities one branch over with the Weekly Congressional Productivity Index.
WCPI provides a digital snapshot of the weekly and year-to-date legislative productivity. It tracks productivity by legislative chamber, committees and top five congress members introducing new bills weekly.
If your venture needs to track the relationship between members of congress and social media, Quorum’s latest tracks the most active member on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and popular hashtags among these legislators.
For those more interested in long term trends, WCPI also includes year-to-date graphs that highlight tendencies of bipartisanism, legislation introduction and success among both chambers.