Sanders wins award for Web site

Senator Bernie Sanders received the Silver Mouse Award from the Congressional Management Foundation on Thursday, Feb.14 for maintaining one of the best and most user-friendly Web sites in Congress. The Web site, whose emblem features a Jersey milk cow head in lieu of the more traditional seal of the United States Senate, reflects Sanders commitment to representing the interests of Vermonters and encourages his constituents to be informed and take action. The first link that one encounters at http://senate.sanders.gov, asks if youre concerned about the Verizon-Unicel acquisition, and immediately directs you to a page with detailed instructions on how to contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to express your concerns and questions. Sanders fears that Verizon is attempting to exert monopoly control without guaranteeing 100 percent coverage for the state, providing current Unicel customers with a new phone, or providing reasonable roaming rates for people with other carriers. Whereas other Senate sites often provide text of the Senators speeches and positions, Bernies site provides a more personal approach through copious videos of his speeches, inquiries and fiery condemnations of the Bush administration. Following the state of the union address on January 28 of this year, Senator Sanders took the floor of Congress to deliver his reaction to the speech. Last night, I listened intently to President Bushs state of the union speech. Frankly, I had a hard time understanding what country the president was talking about, and what reality he was talking about In fact, last nights speech reminds many of us how far removed from the reality of ordinary life this president is and how little he and his administration know about what is going on in the lives of millions and millions of people in cities and towns across this country. Where most Senate Web sites provide little information beyond press releases about the Senators activities, Sanders Web site also recommends various secondary source readings on selected topics from local and national news agencies such as the Nation, the Rutland Herald, National Public Radio and the New York Times. The Web site shows a clear care for navigability and user interaction. Whereas the information on other Senate Web sites is smashed into unmanageable columns and taskbars, Bernies layout is simple and easy to follow. Richard Lugars (R-IN) Web site (http://lugar.senate.gov), for example, has yet to notice that its drop-down link menus are transparent to the text behind them, and so, are practically illegible. Connection to his constituency is clearly a top priority in Bernies office and visitors to his site are encouraged at the top of the page to sign up for his electronic newsletter. The Web site is available at http://sanders.senate.gov .

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