Inspiration

Currently, the US has three branches of government, that each control and regulate each other. The founding fathers have worked hard to ensure that the people who rule this country will be held to strict standards and required constant overview. But after this years election, an important question comes up: if the Judicial branch is nominated by the Executive branch and agreed upon by the Legislative branch, and the Executive branch can be picked by the electoral college, where is the democracy everyone speaks of? The answer is in the Legislative branch since we the people can and must keep in check the people we elect to Congress. But, not everyone is knowledgeable about their state's congressmen, those elections are not as popular, so there are fewer people watching it. For a healthy democracy, people must be educated about their government, and the government must understand what the people want.

What it does

Congressect is an app that allows people to get more educated about their legislative branch officials, and it provides an easy way to discuss what they do and what bills they pass. Additionally, Congressmen can see what the residents of their state think about the bills they pass: if they are acting as the voice of their state, they must understand what to convey!

How we built it

We have an Ionic app with a Firebase backend. Additionally, for potential room to grow, we connected it to a Digital Ocean server; this will allow running bigger programs to analyze the data. We used Lev Tolstoy "War and Peace" to populate initial comments.

Challenges we ran into

The APIs that carry data that has something to do with this are very clumsy. With a very limited amount of calls that we were allowed to make, and code that must work with pretty bad API responses, it was really hard to make sure that the data is correctly used. Additionally, just because of the sheer amount of data we decided to add to the platform, we quickly ran out of the maximum download size from Firebase, so we had to switch databases a couple of times.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We finished the MVP of the app pretty early on, and that allowed us to add more and more features. Additionally, we did a really good job spoofing the data.

What we learned

Spoofing data, and remaking a database is hard. With an unpredictable API, it's hard to predict that your setup scripts will run the same way.

What's next for Congressect

Our team believes that there is a lot of room to grow for this platform. There's no collective way of keeping Congressmen responsible for their actions since a lot of times they go uncontested in their state elections because there is just so little info about everything. With Congressect, we see a way to keep daily discussions about your congressman going, while also giving them a clear way to see what the people they work for want.

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