illinois Digital News

Can Congress be a little more like a tech company? Maybe

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Lawmakers have drawn ridicule in recent years as they’ve struggled to exercise oversight over powerful tech companies that are shaping the lives of most Americans — all without seeming to understand how to download an app themselves.

A few little fixes or hackathons may not seem like enough to pull Congress out of that hole, but advocates say they have to start somewhere.

The other panelists Thursday were Reynold Schweickhardt, a senior adviser at the Lincoln Network and onetime congressional technology adviser, and former Republican staffer Melissa Dargan.  

“The House should find a way to be able to bridge these silos,” said Dargan, who launched the TourTrackr app many lawmakers now use to coordinate tours for their constituents. “So that if one issue gets resolved in one office, there can be an easy way to implement that in others.”

Dargan broke down for lawmakers how a tech company would develop a new product, and explained how it could work in the House. She also explained barriers her company faced trying to approach an agency like the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer — she needed a sponsoring member to even get in the door.



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