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Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) Establishes Online Appropriation Requests Transparency System

Have I said recently how much I love my representative, Chellie Pingree (D-ME)? Well, here’s the most recent reason- check out this press release and see if you don’t agree:

Online videos of appropriations requests take transparency to next level

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree establishes new system offering public an opportunity to watch and comment on funding requests

For immediate release

March 15, 2010

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today that over 90 video presentations of requests made to her office for 2011 federal funding are now posted online for the public to watch and comment.  The presentations are at

“I wanted to make sure that requests to our office happened right out in the open,” said Pingree.

“It’s 2010.  What better way than to put the presenters and their requests on video and post them online?  It literally brings the public to the table.”

The videos are posted at and

Groups requesting funding were asked to make a three-minute presentation on camera, highlighting how their project would benefit Maine and create jobs.  Projects vary from economic development initiatives, to repairing roads, to providing funding for critical coastal research.

Each video presentation has a link for the public to send comments on local needs and priorities to Pingree’s office.

“I hope people take the opportunity to watch these presentations and I look forward to hearing what they have to say about them,” said Pingree.  “If anything, it offers a good resource to anyone who wants to know more about the innovative projects and economic developments going on in our state.”

To further connect Maine communities with the federal budget process, Pingree held three workshops last fall throughout the First Congressional District-in Augusta, Sanford, and Portland-to offer information on the appropriations process to local organizations, businesses, and municipalities.

“I think the appropriations process still needs a lot of work to restore the public’s faith in how these decisions are made,” said Pingree.  

I want to make it as transparent as possible while still doing everything I can to support the good work being done in our communities.  Federal investments present a powerful opportunity to create jobs and spur economic development in Maine.”

I really love this concept and applaud Chellie for coming up with it.

For example, here is a request for the Cromwell Student Disability Awareness Program which affects kids K-6. I know all too well, as a parent of an autistic child, how crucial programs like this are- not just for the disabled youngsters, but their classmates as well.

And I had no idea that a request like this had been made- until I saw this clip.

Being aware of funding requests allows me to know what Rep. Pingree is getting for presentations and in this case, I can now write to her and tell her my views of this program and why I think it is a good cause.

I can tell her about my own child and report to her the progress Jean has been able to make in her public school career, not just academically, but socially as well- all because from kindergarten onward, her school system has worked hard to create acceptance and foster respect for all children within her class. And that the benefits for her classmates include becoming better community members themselves. It’s a win-win.

Excellent job, Chellie and staffers- many thanks for letting me know of this program! I hope other colleagues in Congress will join her in setting up similar online efforts so that their constituents can see what they are up to in DC as well.  

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