Convention Week

This is the season for Democratic conventions in Connecticut. I will be serving as a delegate to the Judge of Probate Convention (a low key uncontested affair). I will also be serving as a delegate for John Larson, the Congressman I interned for in Washington DC.

Even though these are largely pro forma affairs I was impressed that the candidate for probate judge still called me to ask for my vote and tell me about his candidacy. Turns out he attended the law school I go to and he spent time to share some advice and wisdom. In a time where a lot of people in Connecticut politics are online, I think the phone call is truly one of the most powerful tools available to candidates for connecting with people. It’s all a matter of caring.

Student Trustee Results

Just wanted to share a copy of the e-mail I sent out about the student trustee election results (below the split).

Dear Friends,

I was waiting for an official announcement to be sent before I sent
this but since it seems that may not happen I wanted to inform you
that Adam Scianna (a Civil Engineer at Storrs) won the Graduate
Student Trustee election. I want to express my sincere gratitude to
everyone that supported me, voted, and sent kind words. It meant a lot
to me and I enjoyed the opportunity to hear your stories and concerns
about our school as I campaigned. While I will not have the
opportunity to tackle these as student trustee, I will continue to
stay involved in other ways.

As always you should feel free to contact our competent and hard
working SBA representatives if you have problems or suggestions for
things on campus. They work hard for you and I know they are more than
happy to try and address problems or suggestions you might have.

Sincerely,

Matt

Sage Advice

“A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history — with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.” — US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals via ABA Journal

Running for UCONN Graduate Student Trustee

Every two years graduate students at the University of Connecticut are given the opportunity to vote for someone to represent them on the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is the governing body of our university and the last word on university policies, procedures, and tuition.

I want to serve as an advocate for graduate students across Connecticut. As an undergraduate I spent four years advocating for students as the founder of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute College Democrats. As President of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, I was responsible for fund raising, building relationships with other organizations, getting students resources, and successfully obtained representation for our group on the Democratic State Committee — the “board of trustees” for the state Democratic Party. In one year I transformed our group into a well respected political organization in the state of Massachusetts.

I will work to build a community of engagement. I pledge to hold office hours on all the graduate student campuses across Connecticut. I also pledge to work with all graduate student governments. I will provide you with updates regularly and remain accessible via phone, e-mail, facebook, and yes, even twitter.

I am concerned with ensuring that all the campuses across the state have their interests represented equally. I am concerned about tuition increases that outpace inflation. I am concerned when I see our state taking $23 Million from our operating reserve account to cover a budget gap. Some of these issues are bigger than what happens in the boardroom – to that end, I promise to advocate for our schools both at Storrs and the state capital.

Please feel free to share your ideas and concerns with me. You can e-mail me or contact me via facebook.

I respectfully ask for your vote next week (http://www.vote.uconn.edu/). If I am elected I promise that I will do my best to ensure that UCONN remains an institution we are all proud of.

Sincerely,

Matt

Government 2.0 Next Door

The New York State Senate has been doing a lot to increase engagement with its citizens. The Director of Technology Innovation Noel Hidaldo recently gave a presentation (below) at the IgniteNYC event. Some of the stuff is procedural such as assigning their content a Creative Commons license. Other he touches on are much more substantive such as holding a digital town hall. Connecticut should start thinking about adopting some of these ideas.

For example, one idea they might adopt is allowing citizens to comment on the legislation using a web form. It’s a really basic thing but currently the state website does not allow you to do this. A quick and easy way to submit written testimony that goes along with public hearings might encourage more people to submit their testimony and ideas.

Having worked with some state agencies when doing some academic research I know they are willing and able to share data. The Yankee Institute recently put up a large amount of data from the comptrollers office. I do not believe they are unwilling to change, they just need some help from the next generation of nutmeggers.

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