Alaska Dispatch: Young's website is good. Whose is better?

We joke a lot in the newsroom about the number of press releases we get from politicians. Gov. Sean Parnell's tend to be somewhat emotive (he frequently seems to be "concerned" about something or "welcom(ing)" something else, and occasionally he's "outraged"), while Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich seem to be in a constant race to issue contrasting opinions on all sorts of issues. And then there's Rep. Don Young, Congressman for All Alaska, who issues a press release for -- well, just about everything.

In the past few months, Young has issued press releases to let the media know he's sent a letter, had a meeting, expressed disgust, agreed with someone, disagreed with someone, and selected a Cherry Blossom Princess. No one can accuse his office of failing to keep Alaskans in the loop on his activities.

Apparently that commitment to communication is carried over to the congressman's website. Today in Congressman Don Young News, Young's office issued a press release announcing that his official website has been awarded the Congressional Management Foundation's Gold Mouse Award.

"Only one-fifth of all Congressional websites received this distinction this year, and Rep. Young was one of only twenty-one House Members to receive a Gold award," the release read, continuing:

"Alaska is a long way away from Washington, D.C., and so my best tool in relaying up-to-date information to my constituents is my website," said Rep. Young. "Alaska is one of the most wired states in the country when it comes to Internet access. It is important for me to keep up with the technology being used by my constituents and continue to provide them with the easiest and most efficient ways to know what I'm doing on their behalf daily. My website is a window into my office and my work on behalf of Alaskans, and my goal is to provide the best and most transparent information possible."

You can get a full list of winners online (PDF). Young is in good company -- other Gold Mouse winners include Rep. Charlie Wilson and Sens. Orrin Hatch, Dianne Feinstein and Mark Udall. And he beat out Silver Mouse winners like Sens. Sam Brownback and Chris Dodd and Rep. Pete Sessions, and Bronze winners including Sens. Harry Reid, Joe Lieberman and Russ Feingold. Young's sometime nemesis, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, didn't make the list at all; neither did Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (ah, cut him a break; he's new at this).

But there's one teensy tiny little fact Young's office left out of his press release: There's also a Platinum Mouse Award.
"Given to the #1 Senate Member, House Member, Committee, and Leadership Web site in Congress, the prestigious Platinum Mouse Award rewards the very best in the 111th Congress," according to an announcement prepared by the Congressional Management Foundation (PDF).

The winner of the Senate's Platinum Mouse Award?

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska.

No press release yet from Murkowski's office. Maybe they're too busy updating the very best website in the 111th Congress.

Source: By Maia Nolan. Originally published April 21, 2010