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BY Advocate Contributors

April 24 2012 1:56 AM ET

Kevin Hauswirth • 28
Chicago
Social Media Director, Office of the Mayor

Not long ago, if you had opinions about how your city should be run, you visited your alderman, wrote letters, or perhaps just grumbled to yourself. Now you can also share your input online, and you might hear back from the mayor, at least in Chicago. With social media director Kevin Hauswirth and two other technology team members, Mayor Rahm Emanuel aims to make city operations “transparent like never before,” Hauswirth says. He facilitates communications between citizens and the mayor through Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, and other platforms, including a website where Chicagoans can offer suggestions for budget priorities.

Thanks to Hauswirth, some citizens saw their ideas reflected in the most recent budget, and some received a call from the mayor. Whatever the next social media platform is, “we’ll be there too,” says Hauswirth, who adds that the mayor is not only tech-savvy but LGBT-friendly as well. Emanuel has officiated at civil unions (“It’s really inspiring to see your boss up there,” Hauswirth says) and supports full marriage equality.

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