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Web Helps NH Voters Bone-Up on Big Bird & Other Election Issues

GRAPHIC: Granite State Progress Legislator Report Cards website helps New Hampshire voters to bone-up on candidates and issues.
GRAPHIC: Granite State Progress Legislator Report Cards website helps New Hampshire voters to bone-up on candidates and issues.
October 8, 2012

CONCORD, N.H. - Just one month and three debates to go before Election Day, there is an easy new way for New Hampshire voters to bone up on candidates and issues, from the state budget to the fate of Big Bird. Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, says the group's State House Report Card tracks 200 roll-call votes in Concord on a wide variety of issues.

Some voters may be surprised to know what their 3 have been up to, she says.

"Mitt Romney is not the first to try fire Big Bird; the New Hampshire State House actually voted on similar legislation this past session. While it passed the House, fortunately it didn't pass the Senate."

Rice Hawkins says her group's State House Report Card has additional information resources, which are easy to access on the Granite State Progress website, www.granitestateprogress.org. In addition to voting records, it offers news stories, videos about each representative, and soon will add endorsements from state advocacy groups, she says.

"New Hampshire has more than 400 State 'Reps,' and then we have the 24 State Senators, and five executive councils. That is a lot of people to keep track of. What we're really trying to do is make it as simple as possible for people to understand."

While nobody knows yet how the presidential debate affected the Big Bird voting bloc, Rice Hawkins says there's more than enough information on the website to satisfy just about any New Hampshire voter's appetite for knowing where candidates stand on key issues.

"It might not be about Big Bird and his crew, but it might be about education funding, or women's health care, or public safety, or any number of issues that people want to look at. They can actually go to our site and see exactly how their legislator voted on them."

As for Big Bird, PBS says federal dollars for public broadcasting represent "about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget," so eliminating that funding would have virtually no impact on the nation's debt.

The full report card is available at www.granitestateprogress.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH