Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) might not be the most technologically advanced Senator, but he was the first to release an iPhone application.
“Compared to Lindsey Graham, I am a technology genius,” he said. “But compared to some of my other colleagues, I’m minimally advanced — folks like John Cornyn ... Richard Burr, Tom Coburn.”
Chambliss released the first Senate iPhone application last Thursday, following at least 16 House Members who have released apps. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) released the first iPhone application for a Representative in February 2010.
Although Chambliss’ is the first official Senate app, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s campaign released one in October that allowed users to make donations and connect with the Nevada Democrat’s campaign.
Chambliss’ app, in contrast, connects users to his Senate office, allowing them to call directly from within the app, shows the Senator’s positions on issues, and offers news articles, videos, photos and YouTube addresses from the Senator.
In its first three days, the app was downloaded nearly 500 times.
“It’s just another way we can tell folks what’s going on in Washington, what my position is, instead of people having to write a letter or make a phone call,” Chambliss said. “You’re always looking for ways to be able to communicate more and in better ways with your constituents.”
It took about three months for Chambliss’ office to prepare the app for design. It was then developed with iConstituent, an approved Congressional vendor for websites and other constituent services. The same company produced apps for 12 Members of the House.
Chambliss shows his constituents how to use the app in an introductory YouTube video, using his own iPhone and iPad. He’s long been a fan of Apple’s technology.
“It’s fun and it’s easy,” he said. “Instead of carrying a ton of paperwork on the weekend, I have everything sent to my iPad, from all of my newspaper clips to all of my email to any correspondence I need to review. ... It saves a huge amount of space in my briefcase.”
The app is available for free in the Apple App Store and requires iOS 4.0 or higher.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.