Captain America wants Americans to stay informed and get involved in the political process.
On Tuesday, actor and activist Chris Evans, a Sudbury native, announced the launch of A Starting Point, a civic engagement website that features videos from more than 150 elected officials from both sides of the political aisle discussing the issues.
Evans, who cofounded A Starting Point with actor-filmmaker Mark Kassen and medical technology entrepreneur Joe Kiani, said in a video posted to social media that the idea for the project first came to him in 2017.
“I was watching the news and there was something I didn’t understand, and I went to Google it. And right away I was in the weeds,” Evans said. “There was just this mountain of information to sift through. And I thought, ‘What if there was a way that I could get not only concise answers to common questions, but get the answers from the elected officials themselves?‘ ”
The video kicks off with an appearance from Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, who was one of the politicians Evans visited on Capitol Hill in February 2019 while working on the project. Other familiar names on the site’s list of contributors include Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, US senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Evans’s uncle, former US representative Mike Capuano, who most recently represented the Bay State’s 7th District in the House of Representatives.
On A Starting Point, videos are sorted into broad topics like Economy, Education, and Immigration. Each topic features a series of questions, with answers to each question from six elected officials — three Democrats and three Republicans. Some of the questions are more definitional, like “What is DACA?,” while others, like “What is the positive or negative impact of illegal immigration on our society?,” are more open-ended. Each page also features links for visitors who want to read more about a given topic.
The site also features a section called “Daily Points,” which lets elected officials share videos on their topic of choice. On Tuesday, for example, US Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California) shared a video about sending children to school during the coronavirus pandemic.
Evans said that beyond helping Americans be better informed, he hoped A Starting Point would lead to more Americans engaged in the political process.
“The more people involved in politics, the better,” Evans said in the video. “And hopefully the people who have no experience in this arena will find this site to be an intuitive and friendly access point.”