Andrew Rasiej

Personal Democracy Forum

Andrew Rasiej is an entrepreneur and technology strategist who has counseled political leaders, senior government officials, not for profit and foundation heads, and academics in the United States and abroad on issues related to civic engagement, technology, transparency, digital diplomacy and campaign strategy. Andrew got his start working at the intersection of technology and politics in 1999 offering early new media advice to leaders like Hillary and Bill Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and Congressional Minority leader Dick Gephardt. In 2003, presidential candidate Howard Dean and his campaign manager Joe Trippi named him chairman of the Technology Advisory Committee for the Dean for America Campaign which demonstrably moved all political campaigns into the future—by pioneering tactics in constituency development, community building, and networked political fundraising that used digital media in strategically orchestrated and thoughtful ways.

After the 2004 presidential campaign, Andrew founded Personal Democracy Forum (PdF)—the international cross-partisan conference series that examines and analyzes how technology is impacting the evolving global political landscape while illuminating how activists, organizers, technologists, journalists, politicians, and government officials are advancing democratic ideals, using digital media to facilitate a more participatory, connective and transparent world. His commitment to finding and promoting digital solutions for a more open and accountable government extends to his position as senior technology advisor to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2006, which works to use the power of technology and citizen use of the internet to promote greater government transparency and accountability.

To help demonstrate the potential of the technology to empower local communities, in 2005 Andrew ran a highly publicized campaign for the office of New York City Public Advocate promoting many ideas now being championed by politicians in NYC and elsewhere such as inexpensive public WiFi, using social media to report potholes and other local infrastructure issues, and connecting citizens to each other to improve their neighborhoods and communities.

Andrew's belief that technology could empower citizen engagement originally took hold in 1997 when he founded MOUSE.org (Making Opportunities for Upgrading Schools and Education)—a nonprofit helping under-served public school students to become technology leaders in their schools. Today, the MOUSE program is active in 10 states and 58 countries worldwide.

In the wake of the September 11 tragedy he mobilized dozens of volunteers to aid in relief and recovery efforts and subsequently proposed creating a national emergency technology corps to be organized for future natural disasters or terrorist attacks. After his lobbying, and with the help of Senator Ron Wyden, Congress voted 97-0 to create the National Emergency Technology Guard (NET Guard) in 2002, which was later incorporated into the law creating the Department of Homeland Security.

In 2010 Andrew was named chairman of the New York Tech MeetUp, an organization comprising more than 18,000 entrepreneurs, technologists, venture capitalists, and other professionals engaged in the tech start-up renaissance driving innovation and investment in New York.

Prior to a life in politics and education, Andrew founded several music-focused enterprises including: Irving Plaza, the world-famous Gramercy Park/Union Square music ballroom; Digital Club Network, the first live music streaming and archiving channel on the internet; and, Plug-In, the first conference focused exclusively on the future of digital music distribution. While operating Irving Plaza he also founded the New York Night Life Association to promote the hundreds of clubs and live music venues in New York City as an integral part of its economic vibrancy and cultural scene.

He is a graduate of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, an alumnus of the prestigious David Rockefeller Fellowship Program administered by the New York City Partnership, and a member of the Board of Directors of PopTech. Andrew lives and works in New York City.

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