We the People lobby by computer


    As the sun sets on election day 97, millions of US citizens have voted for mayors, tax increases, and school bonds. The responsibilities of citizenship are just beginning. New software makes it easier to make our political voice heard all year long.

    “If you don’t tell your congressman how to vote, someone else will,” said Donna Hruska, President of Eagle Software Corporation.

    “We The People” software makes it easy to send letters, faxes, and e-mails to state and congressional representatives. Federal executives, including cabinet members, are included. Many pre-written form letters make it convenient to express your position on the hottest issues of our times, she said.

    For example, We The People contains letters that can be customized to comment on a particular bill, or request help for problems dealing with government agencies. Do you tune in to public officials on talk shows? Use one of the form letters to critique their comments. It even contains a pre-written request for a flag that has flown over the US Capitol building, she said.

    Your legislator’s address is automatically inserted into the letter, or a fax cover page is printed. You can also e-mail through your Internet Provider.

    You can add additional addresses for officials of your local city, the PTA, or a professional association, she said.

    “Many schools purchase this software just for the database,” Hruska said. “Its an interactive democracy textbook.”

    It contains historical documents and speeches, a glossary of government terms, and an explanation of how the government works. Demographic data is provided for every state and the nation. Links are provided to government servers and other sites.

    Do you wonder why your Congressman supports certain issues? We the People can show you who funded his campaign. See a complete voting history of your Senator to see whether she kept her campaign promises. See how your Congressional representative is evaluated by more than 80 special interest groups.

    For example, Orrin Hatch, Senator from Utah, is highly rated by the Christian Coalition, but scores a zero from the American Association of University Women. Joe Cannon, who represents Provo/Orem is still in a grace period and hasn’t been rated yet. The software is updated regularly to include the latest ratings, said Hruska.

    By checking committee assignments of the congressional delegation from your state, you can discover how to leverage the influence of your representatives, she said.

    Because “We the People” is such an effective tool for lobbying, many professional associations incorporate it in their Web pages. The software was demonstrated at the Amusement and Music Operator’s Association Expo because they encourage their members to support legislation which favors the industry, said Hruska.

    For example, AMOA supports the introduction of a better dollar coin for use in arcade games and vending machines. The current Susan B. Anthony coins are expected to run out by 1999. Unless a new design is approved this year, the US Mint will order more of the under-used coins, said Jim Weir, President.

    They are also working with two Senators to develop an industry- regulated Parental Advisory System for video games. Ratings would be posted for each game in an arcade.

    “The Washington political system does respond to grassroots communications. Members of the US House and Senate listen to their constituents,” said Wayne Vallis, AMOA government relations consultant.

    The data base can be customized to include position papers written by associations and information on current bills with the potential to affect the membership. Associations can add their own form letters, and update lists of Congressman who need to receive them. The Web version reports usage and activity by members so the association’s officers and staff can measure the effectiveness of their strategy.

    The Web version can be hosted on the association’s Web site, or Eagle Software will host it for them. The Eagle Web site is at www.eaglecorp.com, or phone toll free at 888-603-2453.

    Eagle would consider adapting the software for Canada or other countries if there is a strong business case, said Hruska.

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