Do you know who represents you?
Representation is a funny thing. We hear about it in the media all the time. Some demographics are not represented in the media, some people feel as though they are the best people to represent their group, others just simply do not care about being represented. I have news for you no matter how you feel about representation: you are represented in our government.
You are represented in your local, state and national governments. While this idea may not be news to many of you, there are huge misunderstandings about how this representation operates effectively for you and your community.
In your hometown, you have a mayor. He is the top man in charge of your city. He represents your city in larger state issues but also makes the big decisions with the information he is given by those he works with.
Then you have your state governor, think of him as the president of your state. He is supported by something similar to a presidential cabinet. Your state also has a legislature, that works similar to our congress.
Each state also has national representatives. Every state has two senators, no matter what. That means that a small state like Rhode Island has two senators just like California, an extremely large state. Representatives (which is what members of the House of Representatives are called) are determined by state population. There are 435 representatives in the House. A state with just over a million people, like Montana, has one representative. Texas has 36 representatives for its almost 28 million residents. Each district has approximately 710,000 people in it, across the nation.
So, now that you know you are represented, you might be asking some questions. What do your representatives do for you? Well, they do a lot of things. They fight to get highways fixed and schools funded. They do not just vote on health care bills and debate major partisan issues. Your representatives vote on so many bills every single day. So while it is most common to hear about the major things representatives vote on, they do a lot of little things too, that are just as important.
Your local representatives are most commonly seen in parades and on throwing out the first pitch at baseball games. Local representatives are often seen as hometown cheerleaders but they do a lot more than that. They are in charge of making major decisions for your area.
Representatives are elected to represent you. It sounds obvious but most people do not even know the names of all of their representatives. They can help you get things done that you are passionate about. If you are concerned about something happening locally, you can write a letter or call your representatives office. Know they are there for you and take advantage of the people there to advocate for you.