Bringing Representation Home: State Legislators among Their Constituencies

By Michael A. Smith | Go to book overview

5

Advocates beyond the District

Like in-district advocates, advocates beyond the district like to socialize conflicts. They put issues on the agenda. Yet Advocates 5 and 6 had a less district-centered focus than the four in-district advocates. Advocates beyond the district often use strong reelection majorities back home as a secure base. After being reelected by substantial margins more than once, these two legislators took a low-key approach to reelection, sending out flyers a few days before the campaign. Advocate 5, whose party was the statehouse majority party, raised campaign funds for reelection, but then gave most of it away to Democrats who were in more closely contested races. In contrast, Advocate 6, a Republican, said, “[I] kept my nose out of everybody else's race.” Her party was in the minority, both in the statehouse and in the major city that encompassed most of her district. Her less partisan approach helped her earn support from many prominent Democrats.

These advocates broadened their focus to include issues that extended beyond their district, and even beyond adjoining districts. Advocate 5 was immersed in education issues and public employee concerns. He did go home and meet with constituents, but he did not bring up district-specific issues. Rather, he worked to win constituent support for his education agenda and his party's overall agenda. He also stressed his pro-union labor record. He took strong stands on issues that affected the entire state, and he believed these stands were particularly popular in his blue-collar, urban constituency. His district was overwhelmingly Democratic. Even Republicans who were popular statewide could not win in this district. Thus it should come as no surprise that Advocate 5 pushed his party agenda aggressively in the statehouse. He emphasized his support

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Bringing Representation Home: State Legislators among Their Constituencies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Bringing Representation Home - State Legislators Among Their Constituencies *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Studying Representation 1
  • 2 - Constructing Roles from the Representatives' Perspectives Literature and Methods 8
  • 3 - Burkeans 23
  • 4 - In-District Advocates 56
  • 5 - Advocates Beyond the District 103
  • 6 - Ombudspersons 128
  • 7 - Districts, Ambitions, and Strategies in a Term-Limited Era 175
  • Afterword 200
  • Appendix 203
  • Bibliography 215
  • Index 221
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