Becoming an Informed Voter – Congressional District and Congressman
Daniel 1Becoming an Informed Voter Abbey Daniel GOVT 220, L29825658 Daniel 2Congressional District and Congressman (House representative) Louisiana’s political history can be traced back to it’s founding and cultural heritage. Since 1682, seven flags have been flown in the territory. Due to this, Louisiana’s legal system is unique among all other states, as it is drawn from French and Spanish influences. The French founded New Orleans before it was transferred to Spain, and then back to France before Thomas Jefferson purchased the land. Rather than having roots in common law, the legal system is based on civil law, which is shown in the state constitution. Louisiana has had more constitutions than any other state in the U.S., with its latest being the 11th. Two houses make up Louisiana legislature including the 39 member Senate and the 105 member House of Representatives. The state is divided into 64 parishes, 41 of which are governed by the Police Jury. Though there were once as many as 8 congressional districts in the state, today there are only 6. I reside in the first congressional district, which covers the far south eastern boarder of the state. Over the years, both Democrats and Republicans have represented the district. In the earlier years, various parties held office in the congressional district including whigs, Anti- Jacksonians, and Know Nothings. From 1868-1875, Republicans held the position, from 1875-1977 Democrats held the position, and from 1977 to present it has once again returned to Republicans. As stated in The Almanac of American Politics 2016, “The congressional delegation now has five Republicans and one Democrat; the legislature, Democratic since Reconstruction, changed hands as party switchers brought about Republican majorities in the state House in 2010 and the state Senate in 2011. Overall, Louisiana is now, for the first time Daniel 3since blacks briefly voted during Reconstruction, a Republican state” (Cohen, Barone, Jacobsen, Peck, Barnes, Holland & Cook, 2015). In recent years, the presidential vote has been a majority Republican vote. This can be represented by statistics showing in 2008 where Republican John McCain received 59% of votes, and in 2012 where Republican Mitt Romney received 58% of votes. The first district has the lowest African American percentage in any Louisiana district, and is the most wealthy, highly educated, and heavily Republican. Though Louisiana swept presidential votes with Republicans the last three years, places with a high African American population like Baton Rouge remain mostly Democratic. The remaining three-fourths of the state, including the first district, are devoutly Republican. Over the years, Louisiana has gone through stretches of varying support for the two political parties, so in sum they are relatively even. Currently, the first district is represented by Steve Scalise, who succeeded the now governor, Bobby Jindal. A resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, he represents the district stretching from the Northshore of Lake Pontchatrain to New Orleans. As a native of the area, he attended both high school and college in the state. Scalise received a minor in political science and a degree in computer science before becoming a systems engineer. His political career jumpstarted while serving from 1996-2008 in the Louisiana State Legislature, before he was elected to Congress in 2008. Steve Scalise is the House Republican Whip. He is widely known in Louisiana for his efforts to restore the retreating wetlands and coastlines, reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, lowering taxes, and his conservative values. Scalise is
Daniel 4probably the most well known congressman from Louisiana from the public shooting that took place in 2017. During a congressional baseball game in Virginia, Republican congressman were preparing for a charity game when a man opened fire. Scalise was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. In his triumphant return to Congress, Steve Scalise inspired not only the state, but the whole of America. State and U.S. Senator Louisiana has had a diverse history of political parties in the U.S. Senate that are elected to Class 2 and 3. Though Republicans can be seen sporadically through history, Democrats dominated the Louisiana Senate from 1883-2005. Huey Long was Louisiana’s most famous politician. He served as a senator from 1932-1935. He ran under the ideal of taxing the rich to give to the poor. Dominating legislature, Long built a new Capitol, university, roads, and bridges. In 1935 he was planning to run for president before his assassination at the age of 42. He left a lasting impact by inspiring the political structure of Louisiana for years following. The Louisiana State Senate is made up of 39 senators. Elections take place every four years. Like the elected U.S. senators, Democrats held majority in the Louisiana senate for a large portion of history, 1877-1976. However, today, Republicans maintain majority vote and dominate the legislature. Overall, today Louisiana can be considered a solidly Republican State, as shown by the past 5 presidential votes, which have all favored the party. However, it has a streaky history of varying political parties being in control, and history does not indicate that it will always remain Republican. Daniel 5 Bill Cassidy is a Republican U.S. senator from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He attended Louisiana State University, receiving his medical degree before becoming an associate professor of medicine at the same school that he attended. Known statewide for his efforts in running a hospital after Hurricane Katrina struck, he grew in popularity before running and being elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 2006. In 2008, Cassidy was elected to represent Louisiana’s sixth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. He was a social conservative who ran on stands of pro-life, lower taxes, a limited government. His candidacy for the U.S. Senate opposed Mary Landrieu. Democrats had dwindled in Louisiana, as the state showed direct opposition to acts such as Obamacare. The following quote shows Cassidy’s victory as one that went down in Republican history, “With Obama’s job-approval rating in the state just 39 percent in November, TV ads backing Cassidy “came down to four words: Mary Landrieu, Barack Obama,” as Jason Berry, a New Orleans writer, put it. Cassidy rolled to an easy victory, 56%-44%, with exit polls showing that only 18 percent of whites backed Landrieu. His victory left Louisiana without a Democrat elected statewide for the first time since 1876” (Cohen et al., 2015). Following his election, Bill Cassidy served on many committees including the Finance, Energy and Natural Resources, Veterans Affairs, and Health, Education, and Labor (Cohen et al., 2015). In office, he proposed alternatives to the affordable care act. With his medical background, much of Cassidy’s legislation revolved around the general health of the people and what the nation was doing to preserve it.