Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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Techies in Politics: A New Wave Runs for Office

Can more techies in politics make for better policy? Dozens of scientists, computer scientists and tech entrepreneurs are running for office this year both on the federal and state level. “When someone is a software developer, or information architect, or scientist of some sort, my hope is that when they approach a problem, they’ll use the scientific method, and test their hypotheses, and try to approach government on a rational basis,” Ben Kallos, a software developer, lawyer and New York City Councilman told me over the phone. And there are dozens more scientists and techies running at the state level. He’s running to represent North Carolina’s House District 59 against Republican incumbent Jon Hardister. I’m not sure that I can.” The forces behind Trump’s election made Buccini question whether working at a Bay Area startup was really enabling him to contribute meaningfully to society. “I want to actually do the hard work and meet these people who are suffering, instead of being in the ivory tower of the Bay Area.” “I decided to come back home and run because the people who got me to where I was, the teachers who stayed after hours, and the teachers who wrote me the incredible recommendations, and sponsored my clubs that allowed me to go to Cal don’t have the resources they need to do their jobs,” he told me on the phone. More generally, during his five years in office, Kallos has worked with civic tech groups to make New York City government more accessible and open at a time when the open government movement started to flourish. Most of these technologists and scientists running for office appear to be Democrats. 314 Action, a political action group that started training scientists and technologists to run for office last year, is very much in line with Democrats, however.