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People who do not participate in the political process often explain their behavior by saying that they do not feel sufficiently informed about issues and candidates to make reasoned and reasonable choices. This assignment is designed to help you overcome this problem, by encouraging you to find out who your representatives are and where they stand on issues that are important to you. You also will have a chance to make an impact on the political system by writing to your representatives. Best of all, you will find that the information you need is both plentiful and easily accessible.
The text of the assignment must be typed, with one-inch margins and twelve-point font (Courier, Times New Roman, or other standard size). Single or double-spacing is fine.
Be sure to follow exactly the structure provided below; please cut and paste the outline for each section, and fill in each section with the information requested for that section.

For Part 1, you need to find out some basic information about your CA State Senator (the person who represents your CA State Senate District in the CA State Senate), your CA State Assemblyperson (the person who represents your CA State Senate District in the CA State Assembly), and your U.S. Congressperson (the person who represents your U.S. Congress District in the U.S. House of Representatives). There is only one person who
Please submit the assignment in the following format:
Linking Assignment Part 1
Your name
POSC 100 (or 391), Dr. Wright
I. Your address:
II. U.S. Congressperson:
A. District:
B. Party affiliation:
C. Length of service in this office: (year first elected to this office, or number of years in this office as of 2015)
D. Previous work experience:
–include government and other occupations
–do not include committee work, etc. that is done as part of the person’s current position (eg., House Committee on Homeland Security)
III. California State Senator:
A. District:
B. Party affiliation:
C. Length of service in this office:
D. Previous work experience:
IV. California State Assemblyperson:
A. District:
B. Party affiliation:
C. Length of service in this office:
D. Previous work experience:
Where can you find this information? You can find your California representatives by going to: http://www.assembly.ca.gov (State Assembly) or http://www.sen.ca.gov (State Senate). Information on the U.S. House of Representatives can be found at: http://www.house.gov. The Statewide Database (http://swdb.berkeley.edu) also has helpful links, as does Project Vote Smart (http://www.vote-smart.org). Most representatives also have their own web pages. Alternatively, you also can call your representative’s local office.
*Do NOT simply cut and paste material that you find on the Internet into your assignment; re-phrase the information in your own words. If material is cut and pasted without citation of your source, it is plagiarism, and will result in an “F” for the assignment.
For Part 2, you first need to find out how well your representatives are representing your views.
POSC 100 students: For this part of the assignment, you will choose two issues that you feel strongly about and research the public statements, voting record, and interest group ratings of one of the three representatives that you looked at in Part 1, with regard to your issue.
All students: Be specific in choosing your issues. For example, do not simply write “pro-education” (you will be hard-pressed to find a representative who states that s/he is “anti-education”). Instead, choose something like, “school vouchers,” or “higher pay for public school teachers” (one of my favorites!).
Also, be sure to choose issues that fall under the purview of the representative that you are researching. E.g., members of the CA legislature do not have any control over U.S. foreign policy, but they do have control over things like transportation, health care, abortion policy, gun control policy, medical marijuana policy, public safety, and public education.
For each issue that you choose, find out where your representative stands. In some cases, this will be easy; in other cases, it will not be. You may want to get some ideas about issues by first looking at your representatives’ websites to see what issues they feel passionately about, and what they claim to be their best accomplishments.
For your assignment, try to find specific bills, resolutions, and/or constitutional amendments related to your issue that have been sponsored by the representative, or that the representative has voted on. If you can’t find any, just note what you did to search for the information and state that no relevant legislative items could be found.
Also try to include the ratings that related interest groups have given your representative, being sure to describe the interest group’s stance on your issue, as well as what the group’s rating means. If you can’t find any information, note what you did to search for the information and state that no relevant interest group ratings could be found.
If your representative has made any public statements on your issue, please include these (in brief), or summarize them, including the website where you found the statement.
To find out this information, you have a variety of resources at your disposal. As always, you can consult the web pages of the State Assembly (http://www.assembly.ca.gov ), State Senate ( http://www.sen.ca.gov), and U.S. House of Representatives (http://www/house.gov) . You can also get information by calling or writing your representative, or by searching the Internet for public statements that the representative has made on the issue. Some good web page references are found in your text, at the end of the chapter on Congress. A wide variety of useful information about issues and legislation at all levels can be found at: http://www.vote-smart.org. This site also shows how various interest groups rate different elected officials; find an interest group that deals with your issue(s), and report how your representative is rated. For the California State Assembly and Senate, a site with detailed information about bills is provided by California Legislature Information (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov). You may have to look around a bit to find what you need on the sites listed above, but the information is all there. There are plenty of other helpful web pages as well–search the Net and see what you find!
In some cases, you may not be able to find all of the information that you need about the policy stance of your representative. In these cases, document the methods that you used to try to find this information.
Please submit the assignment in the following format:
Linking Assignment Part 2
I. Your representative’s name, title (State Assemblyperson/State Senator/U.S. Congressperson), and district number
A. Issue #1
1. Your view
2. Your representative’s stance on the issue.
a) Public statements
b) Specific legislation that s/he has sponsored, or voted for or against, as well as legislation that is currently pending. Include the bill number(s), as well as a brief description of what the legislation would do. If there has been no legislation on the issue, make note of this.
c) Relevant interest group ratings. Include a description of the interest group’s stance on your issue, and explain what the group’s rating means.
B. Issue #2
1.Your view
2. Your representative’s stance on the issue…(continue with the outline detailed above)
Finally, you need to take action.
POSC 100 students: For this part of the assignment, you will write a letter to the representative that you researched for Part 2.
All students: In your letter(s), address one or both of the specific issues that you chose in Part 2, and include your research findings. Optimally, the letter will focus on a specific piece of legislation currently being considered, though this may not be possible in some cases. In any event, be sure to discuss your findings regarding the representative’s public statements, voting record and/or interest group ratings on your chosen issues. Try to formulate a letter that will have an impact on your representative’s position. Your phrasing will depend partly on whether or not the representative is sympathetic to your view. In either case, search for language that the representative will find persuasive, and that will demonstrate your knowledge and resolve on the issue. Also, in either case, your greeting should be respectful (eg., “Dear Assemblywoman Simpson”), as should your tone.
To receive credit, your letter(s) must include your own address in the top right corner, and your representative’s address to the left, above the text of your letter.

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