09/17/2013 05:20 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2013

Mad As Hell? Reboot Helps You Sound Off to Your Illinois Politicians

We started Reboot Illinois last year because we knew our home state was in dire straits. We're not paying off the state's bills -- $100 billion in pension liability and another $5 billion in overdue debt. That costs us all. It costs us better schooling for our children and grandchildren. It costs us job creation. We still have the second worst unemployment in the nation. And too many of our government systems still are rigged so who you know trumps what you know.

We started Reboot Illinois last year because we wanted to be part of the solution. We believe if enough of us act together, we can change Illinois, for good.

So now we're introducing Sound Off, a cool new tool that will help all of us act, easily and quickly.

With a few clicks of your mouse or touches on your smartphone or tablet, Sound Off instantly connects you with your Illinois elected officials on a variety of current state issues.

The Sound Off tool can be found and launched at the top of the Reboot Illinois home page, or you'll see a box you can click on to launch it at the bottom of most articles.

We also can share the tool, or particular topics within it, on others' websites. For instance, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce already has signed up to use Sound Off on its website.

Once launched, the Sound Off tool presents several key reform topics. You can pick a topic on which to Sound Off. Say, for example, you don't want to pay higher income taxes. Pick that and type in your street address to see who are your state officials. An email with suggested language about that specific issue opens up that you then can send to state politicians. The email will be sent to the Illinois governor, state senate president, house speaker, senate and house minority leaders, and to your individual state senator and state representative.

There's more! After sending the email, you can share on Facebook and Twitter that you sounded off to the politicians with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, urging them to do the same. We believe in using the power of social media to the fullest to get more of us to speak up for a better Illinois, so we encourage you to encourage others to act with us.

Sound Off connects you with your politicians. It uniquely empowers you, giving you a stronger voice in our government. As you learn more about our critical challenges around pensions, taxes, unemployment, schools and corruption, we hope you'll be charged up and moved to act.

If you have ideas for other reform topics we should consider adding to the Sound Off tool, please drop us a note and let us know.

Especially as we enter an important campaign season, Reboot Illinois is dedicated to helping people understand Illinois government. We strive to simplify tough topics. We want to provide you with information and views in one place and connect you to a tool to amplify your voice.

"Mad as hell. Who do I tell?" Reboot Illinois is offering a solution. Information is power. We provide the power and the connection so you can speak up to your politicians, early and often.

We hope you like Sound Off and use it regularly. Tell everyone you know to do the same. Together, we can make a difference. We can change Illinois, for good.

- See more at Reboot Illinois