[Name]: Adam Becker
Not too long ago, Adam was counting glass beakers on laboratory shelves—or programming an app to do so, anyway—but the future of Berkeley politics had different plans for this Solano Avenue local. “Growing up in Berkeley, it’s kind of inevitable that it’s going to foster this political mindset,” Adam notes who, at the age of 12, stood with his father and best friend on a major North Berkeley intersection holding an American flag upside down when Bush was re-elected for his second term. But this mindset never meant career opportunity until he met Nick Gaines one day crashing the Cal Cycling Bike Rides.
By then, Nick had been working for ten months on a passion project with one goal: to aggregate an individual’s entire political life onto a single website. Nick is from DC originally and had a friend whose parents were big in the DC political world. They heard his pitch and, with much enthusiasm, connected him with their first investors. Adam joined aboard around four months ago and is now Director of Development at GovHub.
GovHub is a civic engagement platform that strives to change the way citizens interact with their representatives in government. The site is comprised of two sections. The first is educational and, in its most basic sense, shows people what matters to them based on their geographic location—think details on city council meetings, lists of relevant representatives and election and proposed bill information.
The second is an online discussion that shares the same crowd-sourced moderation model as Reddit. Here, the more popular posts are voted up by users and gain higher visibility within the online community. As Adam explains,
“We want to have this critical mass of people that will get behind someone’s idea. You know, someone will post something on a discussion board, people get behind the idea and vote it up, and once it gets a certain number of votes, representatives won’t be able to ignore it.”
Story goes that the idea for GovHub came to Nick—a current UC Berkeley student—after taking a quiz in Poli Sci 1. Question: “Who’s your Berkeley mayor?” and, in a 300-person lecture, almost no one knew the answer. So, Nick began work on the site which launched in beta just two weeks ago with a live-music launch party at the Hub Berkeley.
First, they take Berkeley, which is a great place to start, with dreams of going national sometime soon. But, in fact, the site’s architecture and its underlying principles make GovHub applicable on an international scale. They are currently looking to bolster the PR and marketing sides of their organization, so if you think you can help, find them at the Hub Berkeley or visit mygovhub.org to learn more! “I would encourage people to check out the site,” Adam says, “We want to hear their voices and their representatives want to hear their voices because we’ve talked to them and it’s true.”
Jasen, Your Hub Stories Writer
Jasen Talise is an intern writer for the Hub Bay Area. He is a fourth year studying Rhetoric and Theater at the University of California, Berkeley. His interests range from existential philosophy, competitive hip hop dance, to the culinary arts. He was recently a contributing writer for Issues: The Berkeley Medical Journal.