Update: I’m running for Congress again in 2016. Since last time, I continued working to modernize government as a software engineer at 18F. Sign up at ColeForCongress.com. Here’s the backstory.
It’s no secret that this is the most unpopular, least productive Congress we’ve had since anyone can remember. There are well-meaning, hardworking people in both houses and both parties, but few elected officials understand technology — only a handful have experience in engineering of any kind. You’ve seen how this bias has affected policies for job creation and freedom of speech: let’s change that.
I’ve spent my career working as a software engineer, more specifically a web developer, trying to use technology to make the government more responsive and efficient. From 2009-2011, I worked at the White House as a Deputy Director in the first-ever New Media Team, and eventually, as a Senior Advisor for Technology in the CIO’s office. We brought open source to the White House. Then I also had the tremendous opportunity to be a part of the Mapbox team for the last two and half years.
I’ve worked on enough tricky, large projects to know that technology is a tool, not a solution. And the problems we’re facing stretch far beyond anything having to do with code.
I come from South Jersey, the part of New Jersey that’s closer to Philadelphia than New York, and extends across to the shore towns of Atlantic City and Cape May. Our district, NJ-2, has struggled to recover from the economic downturn, and at last measure, unemployment across the district was at 12.8%. Nationally, we need action on creating jobs and several other key issues: reducing carbon emissions, comprehensive immigration reform, protecting network neutrality, lessening the burden of student debt, and a national minimum wage increase, just to name a few.
I’m running for Congress to work on these issues directly. I’ll use the same approach and discipline that we practice solving complex technical challenges. Policy-making should be more open, agile, and where it makes sense, automated, such as pinning minimum wage increases to inflation.
How you can help
As engineers, we are ultimately judged on results: what we ship. If you believe we should have more representatives in Congress who hold themselves to this standard and who approach problems the way we do, then please support my campaign.
Elections are a money game. We need to raise considerable resources to send mail, run ads, and build a team to get our message out. I’d rather not ask you for money, but if I don’t then deep-pocketed interests will decide this race.
So please, contribute what you can to my campaign. Whether it’s $10, $25, or $250, anything helps. If you suddenly happen to have $19 billion in cash and Facebook stock, remember that the contribution limit is $5,200!
Our opponent, a 20-year incumbent, has saved up over $1 million dollars, 71% of which is from political action committees instead of individuals.
You can read more about my background and sign up for email updates at coleforcongress.com.