Andrew Rasiej for New York Public Advocate

Never been one to speak on the web about my candidates – my work for JK was always behind the scenes, my enthusiasm for the online success of the Dean campaign was always something kept quiet, and my support for the removal of GWB was what spurred me to return across the pond – but, for a first, I have decided to use my skills to help a candidate who I know and respect – and believe would benefit a community with his skills.

Andrew Rasiej for NY Public Advocate
I grew up in Florida, lived in Indiana, California, London and Washington, DC – but the only major city in the US I have not made my own has been New York. Until now. While not a resident in New York, my work has brought me to this fair city and I have seen both positives and negatives over time. And one of the positives I have seen has been Andrew Rasiej (pronounced Roo-shay).

Andrew has been a tireless advocate for the use of technology to improve public services – whether it be for schools (see MouseNY) or politics (an early supporter for Dean and the founder of the Personal Democracy Forum).

I met Andrew at the very beginning of my political career in a loft on the Upper West Side where we discussed the seismic shift we saw coming with the confluence of the Internet and politics. Andrew was one of the few advocates for technology policy change in politics, helping then-Senator Bob Kerrey on various technology political initiatives in Washington, DC. And over the years of knowing him, he has toyed with the idea of making a difference in New York – whether through campaign for someone else – or for himself.

Well, a number of weeks ago, Andrew deciced to run for the New York Public Advocate role – essentially a vice major job in New York, though independent from the Mayor’s Office – since it is a separate elected official. The role is essentially an influencer role – rather than an authority role – which has appeal to me in my experience as a product manager. What has attracted me to Andrew’s campaign has been his decision to make the Advocate office a distributed office – where the public would become part of his social network – and be part of the advocate network. Rather than relying on postal mail, and what Andrew thinks is the issue – he would rather use the concept of distributed democracy to learn of the issues, determine what is relevant, and to leverage the network to accomplish the solution – rather than assuming he knows all the answers. Wait? A candidate who does not know all the answers? Someone who subscribes to the Wisdom of Crowds? Willing to only accept small donations of $100 only? Is such a thing possible? I’d like to think so.

If you would like to learn more about Andrew and his platform, join the campaign at . Or learn the news at the campaign blog or what Andrew Penenberg from Wired says.

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