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Web site to help communication

Amy Hamilton

Tana Cook thinks she may have found an outlet to voice her opposition for a Wal-Mart in Craig.

Cook was one of about a dozen residents who showed Thursday for an informational meeting by ProgressNow, a nonprofit launching a Web site intended to stimulate online communication among like-minded people across the state.

“I’ve been on the internet trying to get help,” Cook said about her cause. “Maybe this will make a change.”



ProgressNow touts itself as a grassroots organization designed to bring together progressive-minded people across Colorado. It reports that it does not adhere to any political party. The group’s Web site, http://www.progressnowaction.org goes into action Thursday but currently is operated out of http://www.progressnow.org.

Bobby Clark, deputy director of ProgressNow, was a campaign worker for former presidential candidate Howard Dean. Clark said Dean’s campaign transformed the little-known governor of Vermont into a presidential hopeful. That transition was fueled largely by Internet communication and the use of political blogs or a shared online journal.



Clark said the Web site’s interactive tools could be used to connect people who want to talk about local, regional or national issues. The free site can be personalized. Users can access the site to gain information aside from mainstream media.

“Part of the problem is we don’t know who each other are,” Clark said at Thursday’s meeting. “The idea for this site is to keep you in touch with the local area.”

Clark said the Web site will provide lists of registered voters. Progressives can band together to personally write letters to voters of swing states to voice their concerns about a candidate or an issue. Clark said Dean supporters followed this tactic and sent out 700,000 handwritten letters. Clark also said local voters could use this scheme to sway voter opinion about Colorado’s referendums C and D, for example.

“The impact of this was incredible,” Clark said about gaining support for Dean. “Getting a handwritten letter from another voter is impactful.”

ProgressNow has its start in Colorado, but similar efforts could be initiated in other states.

“This isn’t about the Web site tool, it’s about the conversation,” Clark said.

Amy Hamilton can be reached at 824-7031.


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