Leahy Nets 1st Award For Social Media Use In Congress;

. . . 1 of only 4 in Congress awarded for both website and social media

(MONDAY, April 28, 2014) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday netted two more awards for his use of the Internet in his Senate work.

In their latest report and citations for the current 113th Congress, the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), whose evaluations of congressional websites have become the standard, awarded Leahy a Silver Mouse Award for his website, and a Gold Mouse Award For Citizen Engagement On Social Media – the first time the group has assessed congressional use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.  Leahy is one of only four members of the Senate or House to win awards in both categories.

In its report, CMF noted Leahy’s innovative use of Twitter during Senate action last year on the comprehensive immigration reform bill, in which Leahy created hashtags that he then used in posting real-time information and updates throughout the Senate’s legislative process:

“As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Leahy played a critical role in the consideration of comprehensive immigration reform in that committee.  The markup of the proposed legislation occurred over five, non-consecutive days.  To help keep citizens informed and engaged, the senator used the hashtag #CIRmarkup and tweeted about the schedule, availability of webcasts, key documents and amendments, and other information to help citizens follow the debate.  The hashtag was also used by other senators, representatives, organizations, businesses and individuals, leading to an active Twitter discussion related to the issue, legislation and markup.  Once the legislation passed in committee, the senator began using the hashtag #CIRfloor as he managed debate on the Senate floor.”

The hashtags Leahy created were among Twitter’s five top-tending topics during the immigration reform bill markup.

An avid technology enthusiast who The New York Times has called the “cyber senator” for his leadership on internet issues, Leahy was the second senator to launch a website, the first to launch a blog, a frequent user of online chats with Vermont students, and a repeat winner of various awards for the best websites in Congress.  During the 12-year history of CMF’s Mouse Awards, Leahy has received awards in six of the seven Congresses in which awards have been given, making him the second most-awarded member of Congress, behind only Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), who has received an award in each of the seven Congresses.  Leahy was a founder and remains a co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus.

The foundation’s full report is available at this link: http://www.congressfoundation.org/projects/gold-mouse-project/113th-congress-gold-mouse-awards

CMF is a nonpartisan nonprofit foundation focused on improving congressional operations and enhancing citizen engagement.

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