New governors were sworn in this week, and freshman congressmen and -women have taken their seats in D.C. Gather your state and local officials' campaign promises now, and keep them accountable.
Today Illinois residents are in an uproar after the state Senate voted early this morning to raise the state income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent, in hopes of easing the budget shortfall. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill today.
Quinn is a new governor inaugurated Monday. Many other GateHouse states welcomed new governors this week, and now's a good time to start holding them accountable for campaign promises -- Quinn, in fact, said he would raise taxes, but not by more than 1 percentage point. Fail.
Some resources to help you track your new governor or local officials' campaign promises:
-- Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.com is a leader in this area, being a watchdog on the president and GOP. However, click through its top navigation bar, and you'll see it keeps watch on some states -- including Ohio -- popular political chain e-mails, groups like AFSCME and the AFL-CIO, and dozens of senators and congressmen and -women.
-- Print off pages of your governor's or official's campaign site before it's taken down. Google the official's name and "for governor" or "for Senate," and you should be able to find it. Your own archives from campaign season can help, too, if the official is quoted in stories after debates or public appearances.
-- The 2011 Newsroom Handbook, coming soon, has a new public-service journalism template called Fact Checker, for following up on officials' quotes and promises. Until those are released, use the current PSJ template called Your Question Answered and re-create it to use an official's quote and text on what really happened.
What other ideas do you have for following up on campaign promises? Let me know, and I'll include them in a future GHNewsroom post.