Internet puts citizens in halls of Congress, statehouse
Published 9:27 am Thursday, July 2, 2015
I am sure this isn’t a news flash for anyone, but politicians don’t always honor the promises made while on the campaign trail. Too often, partisan politics get in the way.
Even sadder, many times, the average citizen has no idea how an official actually votes until election season rolls around and opponents start using records as propaganda and political spin.
There are ways to stay informed though, thanks in large part to the Internet and the Digital Age.
MegaVote is a great website where citizens can see exactly what their Senators and Representatives are doing in Congress.
It is powered by Congress.org and gives visitors fairly nonpartisan summaries of what bills were voted on. With a simple registration form this information is delivered straight to your inbox once a week.
It is presented in a clean, easy-to-read format like this excerpt from Monday:
EPA Carbon Emission Rules — Passage — Vote Passed (247-180, 6 Not Voting)
The House passed a bill that would postpone the dates by when states and existing fossil-fuel power plants must comply with current or future EPA rules to reduce carbon emissions until all judicial challenges are completed, and it allows state governors to opt out of developing an emissions reduction plan or complying with a federal plan for existing plants if he or she determines that the requirement would have an adverse effect on electricity ratepayers.
Rep. Fred Upton voted YES.
For keeping up to speed on what is going on in Lansing, the Mackinac Center hosts Michiganvotes.org, which is a great way to see how Michigan legislators like Reps Aaron Miller, Dave Pagel and Sen. John Proos voted.
Websites like these help transport citizens who want to be engaged straight to the White House or the Statehouse.
Understanding what our elected officials do after they take office is becoming more important than ever. The newspaper will continue to do its part but the reality is citizens have to be engaged in the democratic process all year, every year.
Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at email@example.com.