April 27, 2005
The Star-Telegram on blogs

In the Pink points to this article on Capitol-focused blogs. It's a good piece - in fact, I'd say it's the piece I thought Gardner Selby was going to write when he contacted me last month on the same topic. Kudos to Aman Batheja for taking us seriously.

ItPT's Eileen Smith gets some nice publicity out of this, but the part I liked best was the quotes from various reps, starting with the Lege's own blog evangelist, Rep. Aaron Pena.

Peņa has become an avid reader of blogs in recent months, sometimes re-evaluating his positions after considering their arguments.

Last month, Peņa started his own blog, originally called Aaron's Blog but now titled A Capitol Blog. It's a great way to communicate directly with his constituents, he said.

"For me, it is apparent that this is the future. There is a very democratic element of communicating via the Internet as a blogger," Peņa said.

This month, Peņa started Lone Star Rising, for which he's solicited legislators from both parties to write.

Peņa said some colleagues expressed interest in contributing to the blog, but others were wary.

"Politicians generally don't like putting something in writing because they fear it can be used against them in a subsequent campaign," Peņa said.

Among the first to accept his invitation was Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas. His April 13 entry focused on his work on a campaign finance reform bill.

"I thought it was a good way to take the message straight to the people," Anchia said, adding that he likes the way blog postings can't be reduced to a sound bite by the media.

Anchia said he occasionally reads political blogs, as do other politicians and members of their staff.

"There's valuable strategic intelligence in those blogs," Anchia said. "I think it's becoming an important part of legislative culture."

I do, too, and I think by next session we'll see the next step, in which legislators debate and defend some of their initiatives in a bloglike setting as Senator Feingold has been doing at the Daily Kos. Whatever else may be going on in our Lege this year, I think that is a trend that bodes very well.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 27, 2005 to Blog stuff | TrackBack

After reading that article, I can only assume that Lon Burnam's been burned by a blogger. Or else he doesn't understand the Internets. Either way.

Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, said he remains distrustful of most blogs because of their lack of accountability and what he called misuse of information. He described some of the sites he's looked at as "semi-malicious."

Posted by: Pink Lady on April 27, 2005 3:34 PM

Oh, I can't believe that Burnam won't come around. All the progressives are online that way. Maybe he isn't friendly with a keyboard much.

As for blogging, Aaron Pena and I talk about stuff all the time. I would think Strama and Rodriguez and Anchia could find their own place online. It would be nice to see some of the conservatives get started, too. Branch's chief of staff and I talked about software.

Posted by: Kimberly on April 27, 2005 4:02 PM

Lack of accountability, misuse of information, semi-malicious: That's precisely why I distrust legislators!

Posted by: Scott on April 27, 2005 4:20 PM