2015 Andrew Rasiej at Civic Hall opening Scott Stringer in foreground

Andrew Rasiej, Co-Founder of Civic Hall, speaks at the space’s opening ceremony.

2015 Minerva Tantaco speaking at Civic Hall opening

Minerva Tantaco, New York City’s first-ever Chief Technology Officer, speaks at the Civic Hall opening ceremony.

2015 Gale Brewer speaking at Civic Hall opening

Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, speaks at the Civic Hall opening ceremony.

2015 Zephyr Teachout speaking at Civic Hall opening

Zephyr Teachout, a professor at Fordham University and 2014 candidate for Governor of New York, speaks at the Civic Hall opening ceremony.

2015 Ben Kallos speaking at Civic Hall opening

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos speaks at the Civic Hall opening ceremony.



 New York City—Top local political leaders hailed last night’s launch of Civic Hall, the new community center for civic tech innovation in Manhattan’s Flatiron District created by Personal Democracy Forum’s co-founders Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry. Among the dignitaries in attendance: NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; City Councilors Brad Lander, Ben Kallos and Corey Johnson; NYC Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco, and Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout. Excerpts from their speeches follow:

Comptroller Scott Stringer: [Andrew Rasiej is] “literally 20 years ahead of any politician when it comes to civic engagement. And if you don’t believe me, look at this magnificent space. This will someday be the layout of City Hall. And that’s because we’re learning that the way we engage the next generation—it’s not about the race for the corner office, right? It’s really about collaboration and creativity and ingenuity.”

Borough President Gale Brewer: “I am very excited because having a partner like Civic Hall is what we’ve been looking for.”

Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco: “On behalf of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a truly hearty congratulations to Andrew [Rasiej], Micah [Sifry] and Heidi [Sieck]. Congratulations from City Hall to Civic Hall. Mayor de Blasio set forth a goal to make New York City the most tech-friendly and innovative city in the world and a critical part of that success is collaboration with the vibrant civic tech community here in New York. As Queen Geek, I mean Chief Technology Officer, I look forward to working together with Civic Hall to harness the creativity, the incredible creativity of all New Yorkers, to help close the digital divide, to foster an innovation economy and to incubate the next generation of government technology. ”

City Councilor Ben Kallos: “I’ve been going to Personal Democracy Forum for a number of years and it is so important to convene. So many relationships can thrive and happen over the Internet, especially when we’re dealing with code, but being able to meet face to face and have a place to actually situate physically and work together around solving problems is incredibly important.”

Zephyr Teachout: “Here they are, taking the wonderful problem of the Personal Democracy Forum, this radical, beautiful, Walt Whitmanesque belief that technology and democracy can come together and each can enhance the other, and taking it from an institution and into a physical space. I do believe…that the way in which technology is architected affects power in very real ways, and the structure of the technologies of the future actually are the structure of the democracies of the future and how much meaningful power people have over their own lives.”