Congress member : Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
1. Write a paragraph describing the personal, professional, and educational background of the representative before he or she entered Congress. Focus on the non-political aspects of the member’s life. In what ways is the representative you are studying typical of other members of the U.S. House? In what ways is he or she atypical? (The word atypical means not typical.)
Base your judgment on the online profile of the membership of Congress found at the following Internet site: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45583.pdf.
Keep in mind that this question focuses on the demographic, occupational, educational, religious, and career background of the member. It does NOT ask about issue positions, character, or motivations.
2. Write a paragraph describing the representative’s political background. Identify the elected and appointed positions in government the person you are studying held before being elected to Congress. Identify the year the
representative first won election to the U.S. House. Is he or she a career politician? What is the basis of your judgment? A career politician is someone who wishes to earn his or her living in the political arena for an extended period of time.
3. Write a paragraph describing the district the member represents. Where is it located in the state? Does it include any towns? Is it part of a major city? Is it inner-city urban, suburban, small town, or rural? What issue or issues would you expect to be particularly important to the residents and interest groups found in the member’s district because of the nature of the district? Identify at least one issue and explain why it is particularly important in this congressional district, whereas it might not be as important in other districts.
4. Write a paragraph discussing the representative’s committee assignments. On which standing congressional committees does the member serve? [Look up the term “standing committee.”] Is the representative the chair or ranking minority member of a committee? [Look up “ranking minority member.”] What sorts of policy issues does each of the standing committees address? Is the representative a member of any subcommittees? Does he/she play a leadership role by serving as a chair or ranking member of any committees or subcommittees? [Please note: Do NOT give me information about the member’s participation in congressional caucuses.]
5. How much money did the representative raise for the 2018 election? How
much did his or her main opponent raise? (If the database indicates that a challenger raised no money, it means just that—the challenger raised no money.) The Center for Responsive Politics presents data on this issue at the following Internet address: www.opensecrets.org. Data can also be found at FEC.gov. What were the most important sources of the representative’s campaign funds? Identify two or three important sources of funding. Did the candidate self-fund? (Click on the representative’s name at the website and it opens up to provide detailed data. Also, you may find FEC.gov easier to use.)
6. What percentage of the vote did the representative receive in the 2018 election? Based on the results of the 2018 election and the data on fundraising, does it appear that this representative is firmly entrenched in Congress? (Entrenched means unlikely to be defeated for reelection anytime soon.) Why or why not? Is this typical for members of Congress in general?
7. The Project Vote Smart website includes links to several interest groups that rate members of Congress based on their voting records. (If you aren’t sure what an interest group is, you should reread Chapter 10 of the textbook.) The group identifies a set of votes that it considers important and gives the member a score depending on whether the member supports the policy positions favored by the group. [A high score means that the member voted the way the interest group likes most of the time.] Select one of the groups (using the pull-down menu) and research its evaluation of the member of Congress you are studying. What group did you select? (Choose a specific group rather than a category of groups.) With what sorts of issues is the group concerned? Be specific. How does the group feel about the member of Congress you are studying? What score did the group give the member? Would you expect the group to consider him or her an ally, an enemy, or something in between? Discuss.
8. The Project Vote Smart website includes a link to speeches and public statements of each representative.Review some of the recent speeches and public statements of the representative you are studying. Identify an issue on which the representative has recently focused. What is the issue? Why does the representative think it is important? What position has the representative taken? Do not just copy the statement of the representative.
9. To which political party does the member of Congress belong? Based on his or her voting record, interest group evaluations, fundraising sources, and issue
positions, would you say that he or she is typical or atypical of members of his or her party?The textbook discusses political parties in Chapter 9.Explain the reasoning behind your answer. Be specific.
10. Do you admire the representative? Why or why not? Be specific.
REMEMBER: If you wrote an essay instead of
answering the questions by number, you will receive a
PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE THE QUESTION ON THE ASSIGNMENT.
Why does the representative think it is important?
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Congress member : Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
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