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McKeon gets wired: Online videos keep congressman connected

Congressman uses Web videos to stay connected to constituents

Posted: January 11, 2009 9:59 p.m.
Updated: January 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R) guides Web viewers through a tour of his Washington, D.C. office. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R) guides Web viewers through a tour of his Washington, D.C. office.
Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R) guides Web viewers through a tour of his Washington, D.C. office.

Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon is taking technology tips from President-elect's Barack Obama's campaign, according to a McKeon aide.

McKeon (R) posted his first Web video today on his Congressional Web site featuring a tour of his office.

His next post, set to go live tomorrow will feature a house debate on today's pending labor bill, said Lindsey Mask, McKeon's press secretary. The videos are an easy way to communicate to McKeon's constituents, and a tactic the congressman borrowed from the president elect, she said.

"We would be lying to ourselves if we didn't say Obama is the model we used," Mask said.

McKeon saw the success of new media in the Obama campaign and copied it. The McKeon camp put together its new media machine in July. "We're not so much surprised as thrilled he is using the Internet," Mask said.

"Congressman McKeon sees the internet as a way to better serve his constituents in any area of interaction with his office," said Robert McAlister, new media coordinator.

McKeon's one-man media team is spartan compared to Obama's but not much smaller than Senator John McCain new media staff. "The McCain campaign had four new media staff members. The Obama staff had 80," Mask said.

McKeon would like to give constituents a firsthand look of how he is serving them in Washington by using videos, his Web site, and innovative sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, McAlister said.

The Web videos will make McKeon's office transparent to all his constituents, Mask said. His video post planned for today shows a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives over two labor bills. The McKeon video shows the Republicans and the Democrats opposing arguments. "The congressman hopes to show the American people the power of the majority party and how that party doesn't reflect the opinion held by the majority of Americans, Mask said.

McKeon's office will send e-mail blast to constituents each time the office post a new video, Mask said.

California State Senator George Runner's office began using the Web videos more than a year ago, said Will Smith, chief of staff.

Runner (R) used the Web to rail against increased vehicle registration fees. "We took a Web cam to a Sacramento department of motor vehicles office and asked people what they felt about increasing their fees," Smith said.

Visit McKeon's Web site at to see the latest video.

Runner videos are available on his YouTube page,


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