MINNEAPOLIS - Have you ever thought to yourself, I should be more involved in the political process...or at the very least be more educated about it?
Let's be honest that takes time and effort. Two things many of us just don't or can't do. Now, a Minnesota couple decided to take some of the efforts out of it for us.
Melissa Shoenberg and her husband have been busy since November, the contentious election made her realize--she just wasn't involved in politics -- at least not enough involved.
"I had several conversations with family and friends," she said. "I was on Facebook doing the likes, shares and comments and all of that communication went nowhere. It was empty. It's empty if it doesn't go to the right person and I wasn't sending it off to my representatives."
Shoenberg started researching bills and contacting legislators through several means.
It was time-consuming and deflating for her.
"I received very little to no response," Shoenberg said. "I could either go back to my bah humbug, democracy is dead or change the narrative a little bit so my husband and I built the Take Back Your State website."
The goal of the website? Make the ability to take action easy and transparent
"By simply going to the site, clicking on an issue that you know you're interested in," she said. "You're able to see where it's sitting in the legislature. Your representatives show up on the screen and you can type any sort of comment to them and you click yea or nay and the site goes and does its business. Before the end of the year, we'll have functionality so people can see how their vote compared to their legislator's vote so come election time they can make some decisions based on personalized data."
But why bother with the state level when so much is happening right now with our federal government? Melissa says our states have a lot of power over our taxes, education, and healthcare and healthcare. Oh, and there's the future.
"Our state legislators are likely our future leaders in Congress and if we evaluate them here at home and they have our best interest at heart they will when they move on as well," she said.
Take Back Your State isn't just here in Minnesota. All the information on every bill that's introduced, who sponsored it and how people voted, can be found in 10 states...with more to come.
All at your fingertips because one Minnesota woman did some self-reflection.
"I only have myself to blame for a failure in democracy because I did nothing to affect change."
But then, she did.
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