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Laura Meixell: Why I’m Coding for America

I am coding for America because I know the potential that exists to change the public sector by making the business of governing better and more open through technology. In my career I have been in borough manager offices, housing authority computer centers, and Cabinet Secretaries’ conference rooms and everywhere well meaning people are trying to figure out how to make technology work for the communities they serve. I know many dedicated public servants who are working hard solving problems big and small, but they are frustrated by negative talk about government and the sometimes broken systems they have to work around. As public servants, we need to be thinking about technology not only in order to more effectively deliver services and pursue our missions, but also to engage citizens and bring people back to the process. I am very grateful for an opportunity to work with Code for America.

Code for America is an innovation-minded organization. I am excited by the exchange of ideas and solutions I see at Code for America – those that I’ve heard from TED talks, read across the internet, and tracked on social media. Meanwhile, the last year has been a particularly difficult one for good ideas from Washington. If Washington could learn more about innovation and collaboration from startup culture, perhaps we can change the national conversation. There is something that works on display at TED and South by Southwest Interactive, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to know and work among people moving and creating in these cutting edge industries. Through Code for America and in my career afterward, I hope I can serve as an emissary for the tools and the language of startup culture to the most stagnant of public institutions, where new ideas and ways to implement them are needed the most.

You can code for America too. We’re accepting applications for the 2014 Fellowship now through July 31. Apply here: http://codeforamerica.org/apply.

 

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