Your task for this assignment is to apply what we have learned about Congress to analyze the behavior of a particular member of the House of Representatives, including his or her policy activities, constituency service, and public relations efforts. Your first step will be to choose a member of the House of Representatives (any member is fine; it need not be your representative) and go to http://www.house.gov to locate that representative’s web site. The information provided there, the course materials (lecture and the textbook), and extra information about the representative and district available through the Almanac of American Politics will provide all of the information for the paper.
Some questions your paper should address include:
1. What are some basic background facts about your representative (e.g., What party does the representative belong to? How long has he or she been in office? Did he or she win the last race by a close margin or was it a landslide?) and his or her district (e.g., Is the district urban or rural? Relatively racially/ethnically diverse or homogenous? Rich or poor?, etc.)
2. On which committees does your representative serve? What issues fall within these
committees’ jurisdictions? What sorts of issues does the representative introduce and
cosponsor bills and resolutions about? Is there correspondence between committee
assignments and the content of his/her activities? Do these assignments and activities seem to match up with issues of particular relevance to the constituency?
3. Does the Congressperson’s website describe his or her constituency service? What
types of things does the member do for the district?
4. How do these activities map on to the general strategies of advertising, position-taking, and credit-claiming?
5. Based on the various standards discussed in class, is the member “responsive”?
Your paper should be approximately 3-4 pages, typed and double-spaced, with size 12, Times New Roman font and 1 inch margins.