The Next Congress App Updates

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The most common question we’re getting from people is when are the apps going to be updated. Our data teams are busily updating the databases and cropping new headshots for new members. But at this point it’s important to remember that the legislative newbies do not take office until January. During this “Lame Duck” period, Congress (and some legislatures) might have a quick session to take up important issues — like extending the Bush-era tax cuts. Because of this, we are not going to release an update with the new people until they are official. You might, for example, want to call your member of Congress or email the Chief of Staff to lobby for or against the tax cuts.

Before we release the major update for the new Congress, we are updating the current members with some new information. For the congressional apps, all members will have the 2010 election results provided in the short biography section at the bottom of the page. If you’d like to see what happened in the open races, you can search for “Open seat in 2010” in the search bar. If you’d like to see which incumbents were defeated, search for “defeated incumbent”. If the member was reelected s/he will have the correct winning percentage from the November 2nd election.

We are also adding something many of you have requested: larger photos. In the next free update, you will be able to tap on the small thumbnail in the information page and you’ll get a screen-filling photo of that member. If you have an iPhone 4, you’ll notice that the quality of the photo is pretty great — for most members. If you see a photo that’s a little fuzzy it’s because the member does not provide one on their website or Google failed us. If that’s your boss, please send us a better photo. Yes, I’m looking at you Rep. Tom Graves!

In addition to the data and photos, we’re also pushing through a number of tweaks that should make the app run faster, and update faster for pro users. Moreover, you’ll see some enhanced and nifty Twitter and Facebook integrations.

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The second thing we’re working on is updating seats in Congress and the new legislatures for when they officially take office in January. This is a significant undertaking, especially considering how many seats changed hands and changed parties. Many new members are just beginning to get an inkling of where their offices might be and are now recruiting staff members. They’re also lobbying their colleagues for plumb committee assignments. With party control changing in Congress and many legislatures, Ranking Members are making sure they get the gavels. There are also leadership challenges (Hoyer vs. Clyburn in the House) that we’re tracking.

So, to recap, there will be one free update for congressional app users, which will be submitted this week. But what about the big update? We talked for several months about it and we’d like to reward our users’ loyalty. Most of you have received many, many free updates over and above what we’ve promised. But we’re grateful and want to reward you for your feedback and for recommending it to so many other people. So, the price of the update in January is only … 99 cents!. We’ll be offering updates for the state legislative versions soon for the same low price.

Yes, for a buck, you’ll get the app updated with all new members. No need to buy the expensive paper version. No need to spend even another $4.99 with us. One dollar. That’s it. We hope you find this fair. Thanks again for all of your support!

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