re: “I wish we had some domain experts (elected officials, campaign managers, lobbyists, law-makers, journalists, etc.) explain to us the problems they face”
I’ve definitely seen a trend of the last year where I’ve seen hackathons become more hackathon workshops (hackshops?) where organizers are partnering with agencies to identify datasets up front and bring in source matter experts to provide color commentary and feedback from end users.
Also, check out the work from Purdue University with their IronHack series. It’s geared towards students and community engagement, and goes beyond just a weekend binge hackathon. I really like the format.