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Which State Has the Most Representatives and Why

In the U.S., national representatives are divided into two groups, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is meant to represent the people, not the state, while the Senate represents the states on an equal basis. This was an agreement implemented by the Great Compromise in 1787. This means that the House has a system which determines which state has the most representatives and which state or states have the least.

Two senators are elected from each state to serve in the Senate, a part of the legislative branch of the government known as Congress. This is a fixed number implemented by the United States Constitution (article 1, section 3, clause 1). There are never more than 100 senators serving in Congress at a time.

However, the House of Representatives, the other half of Congress, works a little differently. While representatives, also known as congressmen and congresswomen, are still elected, the system is based on population. This determines which state has the most representatives. Therefore, larger states with a bigger population will have the most representatives, versus smaller states with lower populations. Each member of the House represents a set number of constituents.

The House never has more than 435 representatives serving in Congress at a time. Each state is guaranteed at least one representative in the House. This law has been in effect since 1913 and is enforced by Public Law 62-5.

The House and the Senate assemble in Washington D.C. at least once a year. These meetings are called sessions and begin at noon on January 3 of each odd-numbered year and can last months at a time. A term for any representative is two years and all members of the House are up for reelection at this time. The next election date for representatives is November 6, 2018.

As of 2017, California has the most representatives with 53 and has a population of roughly 40 million. Other states with a large number of representatives are Texas with 36 representatives and a population of 28 million. Florida with a population of 20 million and New York with a population of 19 million have 27 representatives each.

Many states with much lower populations have only one representative. Wyoming with a population of 570,000, Vermont with 230,000, Alaska with 730,000, North Dakota with 750,000, South Dakota with 860,000, Delaware with 960,000 and Montana with just over one million all have just a single representative.

Congress, which includes both the Senate and the House of Representatives, is the legislative branch of the government and essentially in charge of making the nation’s laws.

Each of the 435 representatives is elected. Voting is a constitutional right for Americans. Knowing the history and mechanics of the House of Representatives, as well as which state has the most representatives versus the least, is useful for making an educated decision when voting for representatives.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr

Qualifications for the SenateThe United States Senate has been meeting since 1789 to ensure the prosperity of the country through legislation. The people of this legislative body are some of the most important leaders in the country, and 16 of our presidents were once a part of this institution. But what does it take to gain one of the 100 respected positions in the U.S. Senate?

There are informal as well as formal qualifications for the Senate in the United States. The formal qualifications are clearly outlined in Article I of the U.S. Constitution. First, senators must be at least 30 years old. The youngest person to become a senator, John Henry Eaton, was actually only 28 years old when he was elected in 1818, but many believe his age was unknown when he was sworn in and therefore no one realized he was violating the Constitution.

The second qualification states that senators must have U.S. citizenship for at least nine years before being elected. This qualification is slightly more flexible in comparison to the qualification for president, which requires candidates to be natural-born citizens.

This qualification also allows for immigrant representation within the U.S. government. Many have been born in Europe or Canada and then immigrated to the United States and gained citizenship, allowing them to become senators.

The last of the specified qualifications for the Senate read that candidates must be a resident of the state which they represent at the time of the election. Former president and senator Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, yet represented Illinois in the Senate, as this was the state in which he resided at the time.

There are clear advantages to actually growing up and living in the state a potential senator wishes to represent, including making it easier to be elected. However, this qualification allows for politicians to move around more freely and live in a state where they are more likely to be elected than the one in which they grew up. Again, this benefits those born outside the United States, who can choose which state to reside in and represent.

Informal qualifications for the Senate have also emerged over the years. These are more like trends that have shown the type of people that citizens tend to deem qualified and choose to elect. Most senators have college educations, both private and public, and law school attendance is popular among these. Law also ranks as the number one declared profession by senators, followed by public service or politics. However, these qualifications are by no means necessary and many elected senators have not met them.

United States Senators are directly elected by the people they represent. This began when the 17th Amendment was adopted in 1913 to ensure Senate seats were not left open due to disagreements or corruption. The 17th Amendment stated that Senators serve six-year terms without term limits.

The Senate is crucial to the American political system. Its members are respected and work to pass laws that will advance the country. Because of the power they are given, their most important qualification is that the people have chosen them to serve and represent their interests to the best of their ability. When they are elected, they accept this responsibility and must value it above all else.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

What is a Senator?
Since 1787, the U.S. Senate has existed to bring representation to individual states and a minority opinion to the United States of America. Senators are an integral part of the news cycle. They are a voice for the electorate. They are composers of history. But what is a senator?

America is a country of democracy and relative stability in spite of bipartisanship. Surrounded by a world in which many are starving and living in poverty, however, it is important to look at the basics. Doing so gives Americans the ability to make a difference to those less fortunate. This is made possible by having a population of 323 million speak through elected representatives.

Qualifications of a U.S. Senator

The qualifications of a U.S. senator are simple. A senator must be at least 30 years old, must have been a U.S. citizen for nine years and must be a resident of the state which he or she is elected to represent. Their terms last for six years and there is no limit to the number of terms, as long as it is the will of the population in the senator’s state. Each state has two elected senators, who exist to bring individual voice and to be a part of the vital checks-and-balances system. This goes some of the way to answering the question ‘what is a senator?’.

Responsibilities of a Senator

The most important job of a U.S. senator is to be the voice of his or her constituents. As the accountable party to the state, a U.S. senator is responsible for voting on legislation that is to the benefit of the state as a whole. It also means that senators are responsible for taking phone calls, reading letters and meeting with his or her constituents.

In addition to their responsibility to the state, senators also serve on committees. Committees exist to examine major sectors of American life, including energy, health and the U.S. budget. It is a Senator’s responsibility to meet with lobbyists and determine amendments to existing legislation through the committee on which they serve.

U.S. senators also introduce and vote on legislation. Once a bill is introduced, it must be examined by the Senate. If it passes muster, the bill will then go to the House of Representatives (or vice versa). If the bill passes both houses of Congress, it will then go to the President of the United States to become a law.

What is a Senator?

So, what is a senator? A senator is someone that individuals elect to ensure that the country is going in a direction in which they want it to go. A senator is a voice for the state; an elected official responsible for ensuring the protection of human rights.

Unfortunately, much of the world does not have that same representation. The U.S has the power to create change and it starts with individual voices.

It is essential to exercise the right to vote and voice opinions through elected officials. Once senators are in office, citizens can write letters, email or call them to hold them accountable. They can make sure they are carrying out the state’s interest as well as using their position for good in the world.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr

business subsidy
Last year the New York Times featured a piece entitled, “The United States of Subsidies.” In this piece, author Louise Story details how U.S. government offices have doled out $80.4 billion in incentives to companies across the country over the years.

The incentives, which are little more than tax payer dollars subsidizing the cost of business, are awarded by states, counties and cities to companies who are looking to invest in a state or city. The idea is that if a local government sweetens the pot for a company, their local economy will then benefit from the company’s presence via the jobs they will create.

Lucrative tax breaks, free buildings and cash rewards are just some of the potential subsidies that cities provide for companies. The problem is that when these companies find their new venture unprofitable they often skip town—taking with them the jobs and the billions of dollars in incentives. Across the country, cities are replete with empty factories, pockets and promises.

The most notorious offender is General Motors (GM). Before the billions in federal bailouts, and before the financial crisis, which saw the liquidation of many of their properties, GM famously built relationships with states and towns, promising “win/win situation[s]” for both the company and the city—the city gets jobs, GM gets tax breaks, all is well. But soon after the collapse of the financial sector GM started shutting down plants and pulling out of towns at record pace.

In Ypsilanti, Michigan an empty warehouse with a $200 million sticker price, is all that remains after GM pulled out. Some states like Ohio and Wisconsin have even tried to no avail, to offer cash to the tune of $56 million and $153 million respectively, to try and keep GM from moving their plants.

The cost of luring a big company like GM to locate their factories or invest in a city can be anywhere from $50 to $200 million or more. The cost for the U.S. as whole at $80.4 billion is telling.

By contrast, USAID’s budget is only $33 billion a year—less than half the cost of subsidizing empty promises. The cost of eradicating hunger on a global scale is similarly, $30 billion annually. For about two-thirds of the cost of ensuring that the path to profit for companies remains unhindered, hunger and poverty can be eradicated.

GM pulled out of more than 50 towns and cities across the U.S. And due to $49.5 billion in bailout dollars, GM is once again profitable, while the cities they took from have been left high and dry—much like the world’s poor and hungry.

Pedram Afshar

Sources: New York Times, USAID, FAO, USA Today
Photo: Giphy.com

Star Wars
When dignitaries and heads of state meet one another, the inevitable giving of gifts can be expected, and dreaded. While the notion of diplomatic gift exchanges between countries may hold a certain romantic charm, the gifts themselves rarely hold up to their expected allure. Like receiving a present from a distant relative, what one receives is rarely what one wants but unable to refuse without ruffling feathers.

As the reigning monarch of England for the past 61 years, Queen Elizabeth has received her share of useless gifts. The Economist reports that she has received “pineapples, eggs, a box of snail shells, a grove of maple trees, a dozen tins of tuna and 7kg of prawns”. To belabor the point, at her Diamond Jubilee last year, the queen received a sports shirt, 169,000 square miles on Antarctica henceforth known as Queen Elizabeth Land, and a Lego sculpture of the Tower Bridge.

While none of these items necessarily broke the bank, they illustrate the uselessness of mandatory gift giving between countries. For the woman who has everything, giving her perishable goods doesn’t help.

Since his election in 2008, President Obama has also received numerous trinkets including a Hermes golf bag and a “large silver bowl with palm tree design” with an estimated value of $3400.

As an explanation for receiving the gift, next to each listed donation on the Federal Register website is the comment, “Non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. Government.”

It is high time for refusing gifts out of decorum be reformed.

In contrast to his political successor, President Thomas Jefferson abstained from receiving valuable gifts from foreign dignitaries, save for the occasional book or pamphlet. When he did receive a gift of note, like the several Arabian horses he received from the Tunisian ambassador in 1805, he sold them at a public auction to subsidize the cost of the ambassador’s visit.

When poverty and wealth inequality run rampant throughout the world, it is up to politicians and dignitaries to draw a line and refuse gifts they neither want nor need and instead contribute that wealth towards more noteworthy causes.

Emily Bajet

Sources: Monticello.org, Federal Register, ABC News, Politico

Demorcrats Quotes Famous Foreign Affairs
Democrats and Republicans are different; we all know that. Throw out any social or economic topic, and bipartisan debate is sure to rage. Take foreign aid, for example. Republicans are notoriously opposed to foreign assistance, while Democrats usually favor it.

However, these perceived differences between the parties do not always hold true. Leaders of both parties have spoken openly in support of foreign aid. Foreign assistance is not a Democratic or Republican issue, but, rather, an American one.

Here are five quotes from notable Democratic leaders about this issue. These quotes can be compared to quotes from Republican leaders here.

  1.  “Foreign assistance is not a giveaway. It’s not charity.  It is an investment in a strong America and free world.” – U.S. Senator John Kerry
  2. “Growth in poor economies will be an engine of our own economy, and our success is tied to the progress of those around us. The investments we make today in the developing world will help create the jobs of tomorrow here in America. Right now, the tough choice is to maintain foreign assistance, not to cut it. Right now, the bold act of leadership is to defend spending on key international programs, not to attack it.” – Bill Gates
  3. “The 1 percent of our budget we spend on all diplomacy and development is not what is driving our deficit. Not only can we afford to maintain a strong civilian presence, we cannot afford not to. The simple truth is, if we don’t seize the opportunities available today, other countries will; other countries will fight for their companies while ours fend for themselves. Other countries will promote their own models and serve their own interests, instead of opening markets, reinforcing the rule of law and creating widespread inclusive growth. Other countries will create the jobs that should be created here, and even claim the mantle of global leadership.” – Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton
  4. “Moreover, the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy — with greater trade and investment — so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also with civil society — students and entrepreneurs, political parties and the press. We have banned those who abuse human rights from traveling to our country. And we’ve sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who’ve been silenced.” – President Barack Obama
  5. “Relations between the United States and other countries, and our role as a global leader, are advanced by our willingness to help other countries in need. Foreign aid is essential to protecting U.S. interests around the world, and it is also a moral responsibility of the wealthiest, most powerful nation.” – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

Read global poverty quotes.

– Tara Young 

Sources: Pew Research Center, InterAction
Photo: OhioBelle