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Gubernatorial Candidate Chafee promises open government reform

My friend Sid Burgess wrote this excellent guest post about gubernatorial Candidate Lincoln Chafee’s recent comments about open government. Sid does work with the team at SeeClickFix, so please keep this in mind as you read his post. Since I have a great deal of respect for the SeeClickFix team, and Sid, I do not mind highlighting them as part of this post (I receive nothing in the process, just FYI).

Beyond what Sid shares below I also wanted to note that this is a very good sign for American politics. It is one of the few times I have seen a political candidate speak about open government as part of their political platform. Will other candidates pick this up and merge this message into their campaign? Will this spark more meaningful citizen conversations and involvement? Will this translate into measurable change leading to cost savings and other efficiency wins? Only time will tell, of course, but at least the conversation is underway.

Image from campaign website

Lincoln Chafee, independent candidate for Governor of Rhode Island, is all about the power of the community. In a recent press release outlining his plan for “open, accessible, accountable government,” Chafee made it clear that real change starts when citizens and their governments have connectivity and communication. He plans to bring Rhode Island in step with other forward-thinking administrations by improving the accessibility and usability of the state’s website, as well as initiating an open procurement process. Chafee also intends to utilize tools which enhance open government, such as GovLoop and . . . SeeClickFix!

“I want to include Rhode Islanders in the process of stewarding their neighborhoods by encouraging the use of SeeClickFix, a free mobile phone and web application that allows citizens to identify, report, and fix non-emergency issues in their neighborhoods,” stated Chafee on his campaign website. Wasting no time, the campaign has already organized a “SeeClickFix Storm” to take place this weekend across Rhode Island, during which supporters are asked to find and report issues in their neighborhoods with the goal of publicizing Chafee’s open-government initiative.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen groups of people get together, with friends or in support of a cause, to utilize SeeClickFix en masse. In some ways, it is the most fun and effective way of making a big difference with relatively little effort. Chafee’s campaign initiative will be off to an effective start with the help of SeeClickFix to bridge the communication gap between citizens and their local governments. “With this ‘SeeClickFix Storm,’ we can start using SeeClickFix statewide and getting community issues fixed,” Chafee says on the Facebook invite to the event. “And more broadly, Rhode Island citizens can participate in the work of government in a meaningful way.”

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