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Continuity of Congress | Virtual Panel Discussion

05/13 Wednesday | 5pm

RSVP required. You can RSVP here .

Organized by the Institute for Public Knowledge, The Governance Lab, Democracy Fund Voice, The Beeck Center at Georgetown, Demand Progress, POPVOX, and the John Brademas Center of NYU.

The Future of Democracy Working Group invites you to join an event on the “Continuity of Congress.” This interactive discussion will explore how the United States Congress  can use technology to innovate and continue legislative operations during a crisis.

Leading reformers will address the constitutional, legal, technological and cultural opportunities and impediments facing the United States Congress during the pandemic and beyond. At this crucial time of public health and economic crisis, effective governance is paramount and people are looking to Congress to lead and to serve as a check on the executive branch.

We will explore the arguments on both sides of the heated argument about whether Congress should work online. We will discuss experiments in virtual hearings and convenings currently underway. We will examine how politics may or may not be impeding the continuity of government, especially during an election year and look at how to embrace new technology while maintaining our rituals and traditions. We will also explore how parliaments around the world are using  new technology to convene, deliberate and vote as well as to engage with citizens in new ways. Join us for this timely and topic discussion!

Hon. Dr. Brian Baird, former member of Congress. The Honorable Brian Baird, Ph.D. served six terms, 12 years, in the United States House of Representatives, representing Washington State’s 3rd Congressional District from 1998-2010. In Congress, Dr. Baird was known for promoting congressional integrity, taking principled stands on difficult issues, and for his leadership on ocean acidification, science, fiscal responsibility, and congressional continuity. Holding a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, with a specialization in neuropsychology, before serving in Congress Dr. Baird spent more than two decades in clinical practice and chaired the Department of Psychology at Pacific Lutheran University. Following his service in Congress, Baird chaired the Washington State Student Achievement Council, a nine-member council appointed by the Governor to provide policy direction for higher education institutions throughout Washington State. Baird also served as president of Antioch University in Seattle.

Marci Harris is the CEO and Co-Founder of the nonpartisan platform for civic engagement and governing POPVOX. She developed the concept for POPVOX while working as a Congressional staffer on the team drafting the Affordable Care Act. She is an affiliated scholar with the CITRIS Policy Lab at UC Berkeley. Harris holds a B.A. from Franklin University Lugano, Switzerland, a J.D. from the University of Memphis and an LL.M. from the American University Washington College of Law.

Lorelei Kelly is an expert on building inclusive and informed democratic systems.  As a Data + Digital Fellow, she leads the congressional modernization program at the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University.  A civil-military expert, Lorelei previously led “Security for a New Century” a bipartisan study group for the House and Senate.  She has worked with hundreds of women leaders across the USA–helping them build and communicate national security platforms that reflect the needs of our modern world. Lorelei attended Grinnell College, Stanford University, and the Air Command and Staff College of the US Air Force. She has co-authored two books and many articles, all free and available online.

Beth Simone Noveck is the director of the Governance Lab (GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. She is a Professor in Technology, Culture, and Society and affiliated faculty at the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and a Fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. She also serves as the State of New Jersey’s Chief Innovation Officer. Beth is the author of Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing (Harvard Univ Press 2015) and Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful (Brookings 2009) and co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds (NYU Press, 2005).

Daniel Schuman leads Demand Progress and Demand Progress Education Fund’s efforts on issues that concern government transparency, accountability, ethics, and reform; protecting civil liberties; and strengthening the legislative branch. He co-founded the Congressional Data Coalition, which brings together organizations from across the political spectrum to advocate for a tech-savvy Congress; created the First Branch Forecast, a website that contains in-depth research on Congress and a weekly newsletter; built EveryCRSReport, a website containing all CRS Reports; co-directs FutureCongress, a collaboration on improving science and technology expertise in the legislative branch; and runs the Transparency RoundTable, which brings together 50+ organizations from across the political spectrum to collaborate on transparency issues.

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