Dig Baton Rouge

Freagle, Take Two

By Nick BeJeaux

In our last two issues we’ve explained the function of Freagle, an upcoming digital platform for political analysis and communication, and voiced our support for it and the ideas behind it. This week we want to show our readers that DIG and Freagle’s CEO Nikki Papazoglakis are not the only ones excited for the emergence of this technology.

Jason Redmond is the Deputy State Treasurer for Louisiana and is also the Treasury’s communications director. When we caught up with him he said his first experience with Freagle was about a year ago at the Baton Rouge Tech Park. He was asked to evaluate the product, and even though it was a prototype then, he was still impressed.

“As someone who’s worked in both government communications and political campaigns, I found Freagle a very impressive tool for outreach to both constituents and potential voters,” he said. “I look forward to seeing how Freagle progresses and wish Nikki much success with it.”

Another supporter is former executive of the Louisiana Republican Party Jeff Crouere. Crouere interviewed Papazoglakis during her 2011 bid for the governor’s seat as the Democratic candidate. Though unsuccessful, she nevertheless earned respect from many conservative voices, including Crouere, because of her sincerity. According to Crouere, he sees that same sincerity in Freagle, which is one of the reasons he’s thrown his weight behind it.

“It didn’t seem liberal or conservative. It seemed totally nonpartisan,” he said. “What Nikki is looking to do is give people information and let them make up their own mind.”

Crouere sees Freagle as an opportunity to shake up the abysmal voting rates and lack of fresh candidates that have become the norm in today’s politics.

“It’s a tragedy that more people are not voting and there are people across the spectrum that don’t vote,” he said. “Whatever the reason, it’s been bad and it’s getting worse. Maybe this would be a way to not only encourage people to vote, but to run for office as well. There just isn’t enough competition in elections these days and people end up staying on office a lot longer than they should.”

Crouere cited the scandal of Dr. Peter Galvan as an example of what can happen when someone holds an office for too long. During Galvan’s career as the coroner for St. Tammany Parish, he became the highest paid public official in Louisiana and managed to make off with over half a million dollars in state funds before he was caught by the feds.

“If people stay in office for too long, they tend to forget why they were elected in the first place,” he said. “Part of the solution is not only people knowing what’s going on, but also people actively participating. I think anything that gets people excited about politics will encourage them to participate. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Freagle’s creators built it from the ground up to be free from any political influence and continued that mindset in their plan to fund the project. Crowdfunding through Indiegogo.com is the program’s sole source of funding. As of Monday, July 28, the campaign has raised $9,335 – only about 20 percent of its overall goal. There are 23 days left in the campaign.

For more information, or to make a donation, visit the Freagle page on Indiegogo.com.




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