Congress+ is a Great Reference App for Capitol Hill

Congress+ (AppStore Link)
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Congress+
Developer: Cohen Research Group
Price: $4.99 Download on the App Store
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Congress+ App for iPhoneCongress+ by market research company Cohen Research Group is a great reference app for the politically minded user or for anyone working in US politics like party officials, activists, political professionals or lobbyists. Unlike other apps like Elections or Campaign, Congress+ is a more professional application, which provides information on all members of congress, from their photo, name, title, state and party affiliation to their official bio, their office address, their capitol staff, their committee assignments as well as their website and contact information. Furthermore the user gets to browse campaign news (Google) and use links to campaign websites.

The non-plus version includes all of the above information except for the staff info and the committee assignments and updates require an in-app upgrade. The Plus version includes yearly updates.  In addition to this already very complete Congess+ reference app,  the Cohen Research Group will also be releasing a Pro version, which allows updates at any time through the company's website.  At $29.99, CongressPro version might seem expensive to the normal iPhone user but for anyone who needs to refer to the Congressional Yellow Book (which costs over $400) for work, the price seems fair.

The phone numbers and email addresses for the offices of the members of congress and for their immediate staff in the Plus and Pro versions take the user directly to the phone or mail functions of the iPhone. The only downside is the fact that while the developer's website can be opened through the application, any other website (campaign websites etc.) open through Safari, forcing the user to always close Safari and open Congress+ again when wanting to return to the previous page. In a short interview with developer Michael D. Cohen he told me that they had already recognized this as something that will be improved in the first update.

For anyone working on Capitol Hill this app must be a time-saving improvement to their work. And for anyone who is not professionally linked to politics but is looking for an easy way to keep up with who our politicians are and is looking for a quick and simple way of voicing an opinion or concern, Congress+ is a serious and truly informative reference app.

Image Gallery: Congress+

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  • Delano

    Sounds like a great app, price is a little steep though. It would be interesting to see how iPhone users react to the price.

  • Adam

    It's still annoying that the UI won't let you run numerous apps at once.

  • Tyler Durden

    I second that, it's completely annoying especially when you have to reopen other apps.

  • http://www.congressinyourpocket.com/about.cfm Michael Cohen

    Anna, thanks for your thorough review. I enjoyed talking with you today and taking time to ask good questions. Needless to say, we appreciate the positive rating.

    Delano, thanks for your comments about the price. We believe this version of the application compares nicely to the spiral notebook one on-sale in bookstores and online (http://www.thecapitol.net/Publications/congdirectory.html). Ours is updated once a year, free for two years. $9.99 vs. over $35 (plus tax) is a pretty good deal in our humble opinion. And, of course, it's all right there on our favorite device.

    I do hope that folks will respond positively in general (not just to our application) so we all get to purchase less flashlights and more useful applications. We see that users are willing to pay for well-designed applications at that price point. We hope that ours fits that model in your eyes.

    Adam and Tyler, yes we couldn't agree more with you on the UI. It's odd but our development team says that Safari links can launch within the "More" tab but not inside the app (e.g. Senator's website, challenger's website, etc.). Our hope is that we can thread that needle because we find it annoying as well.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email our team at info at congressinyourpocket.com. Address it to me and I'll answer your email.

    Thanks again for the review and your comments.

    Michael D. Cohen, Ph.D.
    Congress In Your Pocket
    http://www.congressinyourpocket.com/about.cfm

  • BobWillamson

    Someone should post a review on the appstore.

  • http://www.congressinyourpocket.com/about.cfm Michael Cohen

    Just a quick update to your readers, we have submitted Congress 1.1 (1.0 is in the App Store now), Congress+ 1.1, and Congress Pro 1.0 to Apple today. We anticipate, based on our experience, that they will be live in the App Store late next week.

    Most importantly, in light of the above review and customer feedback, we fixed the issue with tapping on links and leaving the application for Safari. All links now open within the application itself, which we agree is a far better experience.

    Each of these three applications also adds links to THOMAS.loc.gov (for legislative tracking), OpenSecrets.org (for campaign finance), and FactCheck.org (for checking the veracity of campaign statements). These are located in the More section.

    The Plus and Pro versions also add the specific 110th Congress THOMAS.loc.gov link on each member's page. All three also have 2008 campaign links to all members districts so you can see what the incumbent and challenger has raised.

    We hope you consider these improvements when you are thinking about our offerings and appreciate your support.

    AppCraver, we hope that these improvements might nudge your rating even higher.

    ;)

    Best regards,
    Michael D. Cohen, Ph.D.
    Congress In Your Pocket
    http://www.congressinyourpocket.com/about.cfm

  • Eduardo Hilera

    Why dont you include Congressmen for the US territories.

    ie Pedro Pierluisi for Puerto Rico and Donna Christiensen for BVI

  • Eduardo Hilera

    sorry, Donna Christiensen for USVI

  • http://www.twitter.com/ciyp Michael Cohen

    Hi Eduardo,

    They were added in version 2.5. We heard from a lot of folks who wanted them in and we responded to their feedback.

    Happy holidays,

    Michael D. Cohen, Ph.D.
    Congress In Your Pocket

  • Eduardo Hilera

    Michael:

    you have pierluisi listed as being in 126 cannon, but he is in 1218 longworth

  • Michael Cohen

    Eduardo,

    That was the office of the former Rep. We just updated the directory and put in another version to Apple a few days ago. Please visit us at http://www.twitter.com/ciyp to follow our progress.

    Eduardo, if you have any updates email us through the application.

    Thanks,

    Michael Cohen
    Congress In Your Pocket

  • Tiffany

    I disagree with the price being steep. As I sit here spending tax payer dollars on my Congressional Yellowbook renewal of $575....this app is pennies. Great product, great service.