After 26 years spent working for the Senate, Elizabeth Letchworth knows a thing or two about Congress — including how much of a bubble it can be.
A Rasmussen poll in which 72 percent of respondents said members of Congress cared more about advancing their careers than helping people
Now off Capitol Hill, Letchworth is poised to launch a new website next week that aims to keep members in touch with the rest of the country. Gradegov.com will allow users to give individual members a letter grade, A through F. The site will display each lawmaker’s average, as well as breakdowns by political party and by grades sent by voters who actually live in a member’s district.
“The more and more pundits you have, [and] it seems like everybody now does a poll, it seems like we’ve lost the American public’s ability to just say it in their own words,” said Letchworth, who worked for the Senate from 1975 to 2001, rising from a page to become the first woman Republican secretary of the Senate, an elected officer of the chamber.
The site’s tagline: “They work for you. Remind them.”
Users will be able to write notes explaining their grading to the lawmaker and post them online for other users to see, too. They’ll be required to log in and provide their ZIP code, among other information, so lawmakers can tell when a grade comes from one of their own constituents.
Letchworth said she’s responding to a growing sense of frustration on the part of average Americans that their views reach politicians only through the filter of newspapers, pundits, pollsters or paid staff. To illustrate, she pointed to a March Rasmussen poll in which 72 percent of respondents said members of Congress cared more about advancing their careers than helping people.