Local politics have new home on Web

Grassroots.com, a World Wide Web site designed to foster political action from citizens and local government candidates, was unveiled Tuesday, and is based on the idea of "two-click activism," one to get informed and the other to act.

"What makes us fundamentally different is that we give citizens the tools to become informed, organize themselves and then to take action," Craig Johnson, Grassroots.com's interim chief executive officer and co-founder, said at a Washington, D.C., press conference. "People can form or join groups, contribute money or time, or dialog with their representatives with just two clicks of their mouse."

The privately held, nonpartisan company has an impressive list of political heavyweights serving on its advisory board, including former White House press secretary Mike McCurry; John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire and chief of staff for the Bush administration; and the most recent addition announced Tuesday, Geraldine Ferraro, the former Democratic vice presidential nominee and current president of the Women's Issues Center.

Grassroots.com's "Take Action" links enable citizens to try to effect political change at the local, state or national level by forming groups, making donations and locating others with similar concerns.

The site will enable politicians at any level of government to establish a centrally located Web presence to do things like make announcements or receive campaign donations.

Sununu said that in all his years in politics, the time when he would have benefited most from something like Grassroots.com was during his tenure as chairman of the Salem, N.H., zoning board. "It would have been great to have a place where citizens could go to discuss the issues properly and get the information out there," Sununu said.

San Bruno, Calif.-based Grassroots.com has reached agreements with the League of Women Voters and the Center for Governmental Studies to help reach its goals of enlisting a "couple million users and becoming profitable" in the first year, said president and chief operating officer Tim Dick.


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