How representative is congress

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How representative is congress

  1. 1. HOW REPRESENTATIVEIS CONGRESS?
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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.
  5. 5. 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?
  6. 6. 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?

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