Rep. Dennis Rehberg is the 7th Member of Congress (and the second from Montana) to put a daily schedule online. Montana freshman, Sen. Jon Tester, made a campaign promise to post his schedule and he has been posting it since the beginning of his term. The existence of Tester’s schedule prompted the Helena Independent Record to ask Rep. Rehberg and Sen. Baucus if they were thinking of posting one also. Rehberg’s spokesman said his schedule was available to anyone who called his office and asked but when bloggers decided to take him up on that offer they found out that his schedule was available only if you were in Washington (more responses here). Later, an article in the Missoula Independent quoted Rep. Rehberg’s chief of staff saying that when the website was redesigned Mr. Rehberg’s schedule will be posted daily.
Now that the redesign is done there is a lovely schedule very conveniently located on the front page for all constituents to see here.
Wow. This is the power of citizens at work. It wouldn't have happened unless the citizens of Montana demanded it. Montana bloggers, both left and right, engaged each other and Rehberg’s office in a debate over the merits of posting a schedule. The debate started and ended with them.This shows that citizens and bloggers CAN make their congressman more transparent and responsive.
By fulfilling a promise of transparency, Rep. Rehberg has shown his commitment to a more engaging relationship with his constituents. Along with Sen. Tester, this effort makes Montana the second state with two members of Congress punching the clock. (Florida’s Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Kathy Castor also post their schedules.)
Montana could become the first state with their entire congressional delegation punching the clock if Sen. Baucus were to post his schedule. So Senator, where do you stand?