Nathan Strang

Congress app for Android puts the Legislature in the palm of your hand

Filed By Nathan Strang | July 29, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Geeks, Living, Politics
Tags: Android, Apple iPhone apps, Congress, New Media, online activism

Caught in a political discussion and want to immediately recall your Senator's voting record? There's an [Android] App for that. Released out of beta on July 27th, 2010, the 'Congress' App for Android leverages the power of Sunlight Congress API and GovTrack.us, and is free to download from the Market. Developed by Sunlight Labs (who also created the API), 'Congress' is an exhaustive open-source resource for all things legislative. Android_Congress.pngThe app can use your location to identify who your local representatives are, as well as pull up voting records, sponsored bills, and contact information for any member of Congress.

Interested in seeing what new bills were introduced, voted on, or recently made into law? 'Congress' brings everything to your fingertips. If you're a fan of calling your lawmakers to give them a piece of your constituental mind, you can ditch the rolodex and place a call directly from your Android device. In addition to calling your lawmakers, the app puts you in touch with their latest tweets, videos, and news coverage, helping you become a better informed citizen.

'Congress' is simply amazing, filled to the max with features, and should be in every Android totin' activist's bag of tricks. Check through the jump for screenshots, full press release, and a QR code to download.

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Note: while no where near as featured as the Android App, iPhone users can download Real Time Congress to access government documents and other activity as it goes live. I'm still looking for a suitable alternative; if you find one before I do, shout it out on the comments, and I'll post it up. Android users, scan this QR code with the Barcode Scanner to download 'Congress' free from the Android Market.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 27, 2010

Contact: Gabriela Schneider 202-742-1520

WASHINGTON, DC - After months in public beta, the Sunlight Foundation today officially announced the free 'Congress' application for Android phones as the best way to comprehensively follow congressional activity. 'Congress' allows users to easily find their members of Congress by GPS, zip code or name and track their latest activity.

"This truly puts Congress in your pocket," said Tom Lee, director of Sunlight Labs, the technology arm of the Sunlight Foundation that developed the 'Congress' app. "You can quickly find out how to get in touch with your lawmakers and keep up-to-date with news coverage or their most recent tweet. We are committed to improving citizens' relationship with government, and building better tools for valuable engagement."

Beyond simple contact information, 'Congress' allows users to follow key votes, explore committee membership and map every district. Legislation can be examined and tracked through every stage of the process right in the palm of your hand.

Since 'Congress' first opened as a public beta late last year, over 250,000 Android owners have downloaded this congressional directory app. Computerworld named 'Congress' as one of the '10 free Android apps for staying in the know,' and the Congress app was also featured on the Google Android Marketplace and the T-Mobile's Android Channel. Beltway insiders can use the application to track legislators' votes and find their offices while citizens around the country can call their representatives or track them on Twitter and YouTube.

The 'Congress' app is built on the Sunlight Labs Congress API and GovTrack.us. Like all Sunlight projects, 'Congress' is open source software to encourage developers to play with the code at Github, the social code host. Sunlight will continue to add exciting features, such as real-time push notifications, in the months to come. For iPhone users, check out the Sunlight Foundation's 'Real Time Congress' application that allows users to access government documents and activity as they go live.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight's projects, including TransparencyData.com and Party Time.


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Now if only I had an Android...