Which American politician is most committed to the digital reinvention of government? Yes, there’s President Obama, of course, and Silicon Valley congresswoman Anna Eshoo. But if there is one prominent U.S. politician who has consistently staked his reputation to the digital revolution, it may be Gavin Newsom, the two-time San Francisco mayor who is now the Lieutenant Governor of California. Regular readers will already be familiar with Newsom, both as a Disrupt speaker and as a tenant at the Founder’s Den. And this week he is launching a new book, Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government, a FarmVille-inspired riff which lays out his agenda for transforming American politics.
“People are disconnected from government”, Newsom explained to me why he wrote Citizenville. His commitment is to something called “government as a platform” which transforms citizens into co-producers and dramatically shifts the relationship between these citizens and government. Provocative stuff. Equally interesting is Newsom’s evaluation of Obama’s digital record, his absolute faith in the cloud and his regret at not investing in Twitter.
So is Gavin Newsom a real Internet revolutionary? Or is he just a smart pol riding what he calls the digital “tsunami”?