How representative is congressPresentation Transcript
HOW REPRESENTATIVEIS CONGRESS?
Meaning of the term 2 meanings – acting for and standing for Acting for – should elected officialsrepresent the national interest (Burke) orshould they reflect the interests of alocality (Madison) Standing for – resemblance model – towhat extent representatives look likethose they are representing –race, gender, age profession, re
Standing for - gender Historically Congress seen as a men’s club 110th Congress -2007-08-women constitutedjust 16% of Senate & 16% of the House-why? Need to raise the level of femalerepresentation in state legislatures Fewer women chosen as major partycandidates in congressional elections Growth of women in leadership positions:Speaker Pelosi; Boxer & Feinstein –committee chairs
Race The 2 largest racial minoritygroups, hispanics and African Americanspoorly represented Since the end of the Civil War 101 AfricanAmerican members of Congress Linked to their representation within thepopulation of the various states eg. New York9 African American members since 1929 Hispanics- about 6% of House membership 3Senators. This may improva as thiscommunity grows and ages.
Other representational factors Age – elderly – average age in 2007 – House56, Senate 62 Education-highly educated dominated bylawyers Re –representative in terms of Christianchurches. Nov 2006, first Muslim elected toCongress – Ellison – Democrat- Minnesota Geographical region –founding fathers-Senate small population states; House –large population states Does it matter?
Representing constituents Do members represent the views of theirconstituents? Members of the House appear to putgreater emphasis on this than Senators -2year terms Members can represent their constituentsthrough speeches on the floor, voting andcommittees Should they be a delegate or trustee?