Video plays a powerful role in bringing us closer together, especially when it connects people in real time. By transcending borders, empowering citizens, and increasing transparency, it’s one of the many ways technology allows democracy to thrive. Starting this week, all members of the U.S. Congress will have the opportunity to access enhanced features on their YouTube channels, including the ability to live stream video.

Live video is already allowing elected officials and their constituents to reach one another in innovative ways. Thousands tuned in to YouTube to watch the president’s State of the Union address and the corresponding Republican response this February. Engagement is growing across many types of platforms--Google+ Hangouts, for example, have sparked face-to-face conversations on topics ranging from gun control to the national economy, and have allowed people on the other side of the world to share their stories at Congressional hearings.

If you’re a member of Congress and would like to know more, check out these Dear Colleague letters issued by the House and Senate. Whether it’s to share a look into your daily work, broadcast speeches and meetings, or showcase events in your state or district, we can’t wait to see how you connect with your constituents.

Robert Kyncl, Vice President, Global Head of Content Partnerships for YouTube recently watched "Dove Real Beauty Sketches" & Susan Molinari, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations recently watched “If there's one thing you do today, get a business online.”