The Hill on The Net
Electronic Update #26


A couple of months back a House staffer spammed every other House staffer with an e-mail pushing diet pills. Last December, a Senate staffer's love note to her boyfriend found its way into the inboxes of many of the Senator's constituents. Hill spam marches on and gets more interesting each time.

The Birmingham News - Sessions aide's e-mail called error

Here's a pretty exclusive club. The US Association of Former Members of Congress "promotes improved public understanding of the role of Congress as a unique institution as well as the crucial importance of representative democracy as a system of government, both domestically and internationally". The groups has approximately 600 members. Interesting thought; do the members who left Congress involuntarily after losing their seats at the polls have to pay higher dues than those that retired :-?

The US Association of Former Members of Congress

As you may have read in my book, it was back in 1994 that Senator Edward Kennedy became the first member of Congress with a home on the web. Two years later, in 1996, the halfway point was reached when Senator Herb Kohl shipped Senate web #50. The 105th Congress ended in 1998 with 99 Senators on the web (Ben Nighthorse Campbell was the lone holdout at the time), and the 106th brought eight incoming freshman to the Senate, backsliding the webbed count to ninety-one. Well Campbell finally got around to it, and the freshman found their way online one by one (appointed Senator Lincoln Chaffe inherited a home page), until the last holdout finally turned up on the web, Freshman Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois.

So it took six years, one Senate term, for every Senator to find their way to the web. Time now to re-visit and re-model as Senator Kennedy recently did when he shipped Kennedy web site version 4.0.

Senator Lincoln Chafee

Senator Peter Fitzgerald

Senator Edward Kennedy

If you read my book, then you probably read the excellent forward written by Jim Warren. Jim's contributions to the world of computing are many, and today he continues to advocate for increasing access to government by citizens over the net, an area in which he has likewise had a significant impact. I first met Jim back in my Kennedy days. He was surprised to find a Hill staffer who knew what the Internet was, and he was happy to encourage and harangue as needed to push us forward. I will always be grateful of that. Jim was recently profiled in the NY Times online, check it out.

A Utopian With a Twinkle and an Idea: Online Democracy

After eight years in the Senate, three with Senator Kennedy, and five in my current position with the Democratic Technology & Communications Committee, I'm moving onward. Together with a fellow exiting Senate staffer, Jeremy Dorin, I am starting CaseyDorin Internet Productions. We will be working to help bring Democratic candidates and organizations online, advising on Internet strategy, and developing online campaigns. It's tough for me to leave the Senate as I've enjoyed working there tremendously and am proud to have been able to work on Capitol Hill. But the time feels right, and the opportunity seems to be there, so I've just gotta take the leap. I don't know yet how this will affect my writing of these updates. Feel free to stick around on this list and find out.

CaseyDorin Internet Productions

Many of the items that I write about are things I've come across on other politically oriented web sites and newsletters. I'd like to acknowledge a few of my favorites and encourage you to check them all out:

The Political Site of the Day
If you like exploring Politics on the web, this site is a must surf stop. Or if you prefer your political site to be delivered in batches, you can subscribe to have the weekly listing delivered via e-mail.

This site is great. I particularly like the state-by-state info and very complete collection of candidate links.

There is no better way to follow the news about online politics than with PoliticsOnline. Be sure to subscribe to both of their e-newsletters, NetPulse and the PoliTicker. Great stuff.

That's all for now!



Copyright 2000 by Chris Casey

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