Becoming an Informed Voter – Researching Your Congressional Delegation

The research paper has 2 steps. First, you will analyze the background of your congressional district and yourU.S. Representative. Second, you will analyze the political background of your state and 1 of your U.S.Senators. You may choose which senator to study; however, if one senator is newly elected and does not haveinterest group ratings, study the other one. Note that these are United States Representatives and Senators.Do not use members of your state legislature.Begin by reviewing the presentation on “Becoming an Informed Voter.” The example of Congressman BobGoodlatte of Virginia is used. If you have a newly elected representative who has not yet received interestgroup ratings, get the interest group ratings of a representative from a neighboring district.After reviewing the presentation, the first part will deal with your congressional district and congressman; thesecond part will deal with your state and senator. As explained in the presentation, interest group scores maybe found at Vote Smart.A helpful source to find information for this paper is The Almanac of American Politics by Richard E. Cohenand James A. Barnes.Use the current APA format to properly format this essay as you will be required to use formal writing with level1, 2, and 3 headings as necessary to address and elaborate on each of the following questions in paragraphform:• What is the recent political history of your district and state?• How has your state and congressional district voted in recent presidential and congressional elections?• Can your district or state be considered to be leaning Republican or Democrat?• Are the political parties relatively even, or does one party dominate the elections?• Does your district have a long tradition of supporting one party, or has it been changing in recent years?• How did your representative and senator come to power? (Thoroughly describe their backgrounds.)• How do the interest groups – ADA, ACLU, ACU, and CC (or FRC) – rate your representative and senator?(Note: If the Christian Coalition score is not available, you may substitute the Family Research Council score.Include the exact scores from each of these groups. The rationale for this is explained in the presentation.)• Based on these ratings, would you classify your representative and senator as conservative or liberal? Justify your answer.

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