New governor opens online channel

Your Oklahoma portal

Oklahoma Gov.-elect Brad Henry has signaled his intention to boost online

communication between his administration and state residents by putting

his transition Web site alongside other government agency sites, even before

he's taken office.

Henry chose to have his first official Web site built and hosted by

YourOklahoma, which is managed by e-government firm NIC and which in turn

manages the state's official e-government portal (www.YourOklahoma.com).

YourOklahoma also will build and manage Henry's site after his inauguration

as governor later this month.

It's the first time that YourOklahoma will design and host the governor's

Web site. Outgoing Gov. Frank Keating maintained his own site and linked

to the state government's site.

The agreement to build the site was the result of similar thinking on

both sides, according to YourOklahoma spokesperson Deb Page, because each

approached the other almost at the same time.

Henry is using his transition site (www.youroklahoma.com/gov-elect)

to provide details about his transition team and inaugural events, but it

also has several areas where viewers can have more direct interaction. It

includes online forms for groups and organizations to issue speaking invitations

to the governor-elect, for example, and it has an area for people to recommend

individuals for official appointments to Henry's team.

The site also includes forms citizens can use to make detailed suggestions

about what they think is needed to improve Oklahoma's government.

Henry said it's important to offer a platform for citizens to express

an opinion and share ideas, because not everyone has the time to drop by

the state capitol. The current and future governor's Web site "will help

Oklahomans stay in touch with the state government, particularly the governor's

office," he said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be

reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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