“Since day one, citizen input, transparency, and accountability have been top priorities in the process of distributing ARRA funds,” Governor Kaine said. “This honor affirms that Stimulus.Virginia.Gov is an effective mechanism to achieve these goals and is yet another way that Virginia is taking the lead in its use of technology to engage citizens.”The statement went on to point out that the City of Virginia Beach was recognized as having the "best city web portal in the nation, and Fairfax County as best county web portal in the nation. Virginia’s official state Web portal was ranked first in the nation among states in 2008, and therefore did not compete in this year's state category."
More than 9,000 ideas were submitted to Stimulus.Virginia.Gov by citizens, localities and other groups between February 10 and March 6, 2009. Since that time, the site has transitioned to an easy-to-use graphical, geographic reporting resource of ARRA funds received in the Commonwealth and projects undertaken. The stimulus website was created by a cross-boundary state team including the Governor’s Webmaster and staff, the Department of Planning and Budget, the Department of Accounts, the State Comptroller and VITA’s Enterprise Applications Division.
What I found to be very interesting is that many bloggers from all across the country talk about how Virginia has one of the strongest set of state progressive bloggers. It's therefore very interesting that the Commonwealth should also receive these awards -- especially when you consider that the two localities that received individual awards are also in regions that are home to some of the most widely read bloggers in the state. I'm obviously not claiming that bloggers are responsible for creating these websites, but merely pointing out that the Commonwealth that was recognized with these awards also home to many people who have received national recognition for using the internet to open up the political process.