New application connects constituents with Tallahassee - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

New application connects constituents with Tallahassee

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Digital strategist Jonathan Torres, tests out the new FL House app Digital strategist Jonathan Torres, tests out the new FL House app

Getting students engaged in state and local government is a challenge for University of Tampa Professor, Mary Anderson. She hopes a new political app will change that. It's called FL House and it's free.

"It's a quick, at your hands, way to find your information without going to the web," Anderson said.

Speaker Will Weatherford launched the app available for iPhones, iPads, Droid smart phones and Droid tablets. Users can search for their representative, find contact information, and browse and download bills. It's also easy to find a lawmakers' voting record.

Digital strategist, Jonathan Torres, says the app could be better but it's a great first step.

"I don't think before an app like this most people would even know how to find a bill considered in Tallahassee," Torres said. "This is putting it at your fingertips."

Torres would like to see the app develop and add easier search options, plus, representatives' social media accounts.

"I think this is a huge and very well executed first step," Torres said. "But I'm interested to see how this will evolve."

Anderson appreciates the idea but sees a problem.

"If people understand it's out there they'll use it," Anderson said. "The problem is people are not overly interested. I think it'll be really useful for people who follow politics a lot but it's a two prong issue. We have to raise awareness and interest at the same time."

According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office Anderson's right; people are not as engaged locally as they are nationally.

In the 2010 General Election, which covered state and local races, only 48 percent of eligible voters in Hillsborough County cast a ballot. However, in the Presidential Election of 2012, 73 percent of Hillsborough County voters showed up.

Lawmakers hope the app will spark local interest.


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