I’ve had a tab open to this ProPublica post “A New Way to Keep an Eye on Who Represents You in Congress” for a couple of weeks and just now getting around to sharing. Their new project called “Represent” is a great way to track on lawmakers, the bills they consider and the votes they take (and miss). Search for your legislators by address, ZIP code or name. A very handy tool indeed. But 2 things stand out especially about this new effort: 1) “Represent” not only collates data from a variety of government resources (see below) but they also point out to other sites that offer valuable features like individual lawmaker and bill pages on GovTrack and C-SPAN; and 2) They’re making available all the data that they use through their API. Their data sources include:
- The official Web site of the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, for vote data
- The official Web site of the United States Senate, for vote data
- The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, for member biographical information
- The United States Project, for social media account names in member lists and some member biographical information
- MIT Professor Charles Stewart’s collection of Congressional data, for some role information
- Congress.gov (The Library of Congress) and the Government Publishing Office, for bill data and nomination data
Check it out, bookmark it, and let your library patrons know about it!
Today ProPublica is launching a new interactive database that will help you keep track of the officials who represent you in Congress.
The project is the continuation of two projects I worked on at The New York Times — the first is the Inside Congress database, which we are taking over at ProPublica starting today.
But we also have big plans for it. While the original interactive database at The Times focused on bills and votes, our new project adds pages for each elected official, where you can find their latest votes, legislation they support and statistics about their voting. As we move forward we want to add much more data to help you understand how your elected officials represent you, the incentives that drive them and the issues they care about.
In that way, it is also a continuation of another project I worked on at the Times. In late 2008, The New York Times launched an app called Represent that connected city residents with the officials who represented them at the local, state and federal levels. It was an experiment in trying to make it easier to keep track of what elected officials were doing.
Because ProPublica is rekindling that effort, we’re calling the new project Represent.
The new Represent will help you track members, votes and bills in the House of Representatives and Senate. We’re also launching a Congress API, or Application Programming Interface, so developers can get data about what Congress is doing, too.
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