Like many Vermont citizens, I’ve been frustrated with the continuing saga of Vermont Health Connect (don’t bother clicking until November 15th, after the election). Although, I am neither a VHC insurance customer or healthcare provider, my hope is for better access to healthcare and cost containment. But as a taxpayer, it is not acceptable to see such results for the tax dollars spent. It does not matter that it came from our federal pocket instead of our Vermont pocket; a tax dollar is a tax dollar. As someone who works in the Information Technology field, and has seen the pros and cons of IT outsourcing over the years, it’s not completely surprising or unexpected, whether the customer is a business or government agency.
Given that it is election season, politicians have expressed their frustration with the so-called “Nothing Burger” that is VHC. Not that many of these politicians and candidates have ever actually built a website, I share their exasperation. The humorous comments I’ve heard have been along the lines of “it’s just a website” and “any teenager could build a better website than CGI”. What VHC is attempting to do is beyond “just a website”. VHC is supposed to be a web portal site with a back-end network of web applications and services amongst the State of Vermont, federal agencies and insurance company systems. But “website” is how politicians and news reports describe it.
This got me thinking about the websites of candidates. How well do their websites or social media sites perform or provide useful information to voters and constituents? There are many ways that candidates interact with citizens, including debates, forums, door-to-door, ads, postcards, flyers and public access TV segments. A website is just one aspect of the overall campaign, yet it is a very important tool. For younger voters and newer residents of Vermont, a website can help reach those voters.
So I began looking at Vermont Senate candidate websites, as there are a lot fewer candidates to review than the House. With 55 candidates for 30 seats, this was a good sample to start with. I gathered some information and website links into a spreadsheet, then created a webpage summarizing Senate candidate websites and social media sites.