Historical Highlights

The Creation of the House’s Constituent E-mail System

June 02, 1993
The Creation of the House’s Constituent E-mail System Image, Congressional Pictorial Directory, 104th. Charlie Rose of North Carolina, who served 12 terms in the House, chaired the Committee on House Administration during the 102nd and 103rd Congresses.
On this date, the House Administration Committee, under the direction of Chairman Charlie Rose of North Carolina, announced a pilot program to establish a “Constituent Electronic Mail System.” While the House had created a rudimentary internal e-mail system in the early 1980s, this marked the first time that citizens could communicate directly with their Members of Congress via "an electronic gateway to the Internet," as one news wire put it. Several Members agreed to participate in the new program including: Jay Dickey of Arizona, Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut, Newt Gingrich of Georgia, Fortney Pete Stark of California, and Melvin Watt of North Carolina. Initially, constituents were asked to mail in a postcard or a letter expressing their interest in the e-mail system and to provide the lawmaker with an e-mail address. At the time, only one e-mail address existed for the House, Congress@HR.House.gov (now extinct). By September 1993, the pilot program received more than 3,000 e-mails. Still unsure about the new technology, some of the pilot program Members replied to constituents' electronic correspondence via postal mail. By the mid-1990s, the Internet began to slowly spread to congressional offices. Modern congressional offices now send and receive vast amounts of information over e-mail, both on Capitol Hill and to and from their districts.

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