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Municipal government / Year in review

Tech and City Hall: No. 4 Baltimore tech trend of 2016

With the mayoral election and new collaboration, there are signs of a deeper relationship forming between Baltimore tech and City Hall.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake with tech community leaders. (Photo by Mark Dennis/Baltimore City)

The end of the year is a time to think about what’s next for 2017, but it’s also worth reflecting on how we got here. We’re looking back at some of the themes that kept coming up in our coverage of Baltimore’s tech community in 2016. See the full list of 2016 trends here.

Twenty sixteen will be remembered for its politics. On the local level, 2016 brought a mayor’s race that was frequently described as one of the most important in decades.
The tech community got involved. Members organized opportunities to meet candidates, and Groove founder Ethan Giffin urged other entrepreneurs to let employees vote. At Baltimore, we submitted a questionnaire on tech issues to the candidates .
But tech’s voice at City Hall will have to be lasting. Projects like Dave Troy’s purchasing Twitter bot show that innovation is needed in the city government’s processes. A City Council hearing on broadband showed that bringing change will take a protracted effort. Engagement can’t end on Election Day.
As Mayor Catherine Pugh’s term began at the end of the year, more signs of collaboration started to appear. The Baltimore City Health Department provided resources for tech teams to come up with new solutions. A Code for America-affiliated brigade is also set to launch in January, with a goal of putting leaders and technologists and politicians in the same room as well as building solutions.
Support goes both ways, so the Baltimore Development Corp. awarded $575,000 grants to the city’s leading entrepreneurship organizations and incubators at Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s final press conference in office.
It’s clear that the year provided momentum for further collaboration. Let’s keep it going next year.

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