Inspiration

In high school, I spent a year as an intern for my state legislator. Here, I saw constituent concerns and correspondence turn into actual legislation and law. It was empowering to see, and inspired me to speak out about an issue that affected me and many of my friends. Armed with inside knowledge of how a state legislator's office works, I wrote to lawmakers and published op-eds in several state newspapers. Ultimately, I received correspondence from the governor and state lawmakers, and was invited to testify in favor of a piece of legislation that ended up on Californians' ballots in 2020! Didn't pass though lol-- Prop 18., we will meet again!

What really struck me, though, is that I was only able to comfortably engage at this level after a year of immersion and interest in the process. The state legislature, amazingly, had never came up in school before, and even my most politically engaged friends seemed aware of its workings only in passing. There are a lot of resources out there for engagement at the federal level, but a surprising lack of similar tools focused on the state level, which in theory is much more accessible as well as hugely consequential! The idea behind this project was to deliver an experience and tool that is one part state civics crash course, and one part command central for civic engagement-- a counterpart to the similar tools used in lawmakers' legislative and district offices.

It's definitely in its early stages, as a two-day-old unpublished website, but going forward I'd like to work with other civic-minded hackers to build it up into something that can be rolled out in civics classrooms across California.

How we built it

This was my first real attempt at HTML/CSS/JavaScript! For this reason, some of the features are actually hard-coded in and not fully functional I also didn't know about Figma until it was too late, so I did all of my visual work directly in CSS, which I now know is a bit yikes.

Challenges we ran into

See above! Also, turns out the state legislative docket is realllly difficult to web scrape. Unless I'm doing something wrong-- again, I'm a newbie at this!

What's next for STATECHANGER.org

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