Engaging Politicos: Boulder, Chicago

Politicians in Congress feel pressure through three main channels: they, we, and I.

They call these channels the three C’s, respectively referencing the previous list: constituents, colleagues, and conscience.

PolitiHacks has been organizing primarily around ‘they,’ or groups of geographically-linked entrepreneurs. These founders are then matched up to their Congressional Representative or Senator, making them constituents, and they are given an opportunity to request a certain position be taken. PolitiHacks provides the opportunity, while the founder uses it to speak freely about their experiences and the issue or the problem that needs to be solved.

In these pilot tests, the position is for the politician to support startup visa.

For Boulder, Tim thanked Sen. Udall for introducing the Startup Visa Act of 2013 through a letter to the editor. Other politicians will notice that Sen. Udall has received praise, and a letter to the editor is considered very high signal, due to the amount of effort it takes to submit one.

In Chicago, the founders are all locals, from in or near Rep. Gutierrez’ district. Such a local connection ensures at least the attention of the district staff, or employees who work in the area where the politician is voted on. Locals mean votes, and since a politician’s job is partially to get reelected, locals get listened to.

Using that opportunity to get a hearing, the founders will sit down with Rep. Gutierrez’ staff to discuss startup visa with them and receive a pitch in turn for why the startup community should support comprehensive immigration reform. It should be very productive and worth broadcasting to the community more widely.

These constituent channels are effective ways to focus widespread support into political actions that have an impact on the legislative debate.

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