Blog Topic: Congressional Scavenger Hunt

This week we will be considering Congress. One way to introduce yourself to the institution is by getting to know your own representatives. To that end, please complete this Congressional Scavenger Hunt which will allow you to use a handful of key websites (House, Senate, Project Vote Smart and National Journal Almanac) to learn all about about your Representative, Senators and the state/district from which you hail. What connections can you find between the characteristics of an official’s district/state and the  committees on which they serve? Did you see any relationship between the sources of campaign contributions and the officials’ committee assignments or legislative agendas?  In addition to posting your blog comments, please bring your completed scavenger hunt form to Tuesday’s class.

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26 Responses to Blog Topic: Congressional Scavenger Hunt

  1. Kaitlyn Paquin says:

    The Congressman for my district is Bill Owens. The committees that he serves on are the Armed Services Committee, the Small Business Committee, and the Agriculture Committee. The committees that he serves on matches with the area he represents because there are a lot of small businesses and some army bases in the area. Also there is plenty of farm country in Northern New York.
    The Senior Senator of New York is Charles Schumer. The committees that he serves on are the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senate Finance Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. The committees that he serves on matches the area he represents because New York City is the nations financial capital and there are many suburbs in the area.
    The Junior Senator is Kirsten Gillibrand. The committees that she serves on are Environmental and Public Works Committee, the Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging. The committees that she serves on matches the area she represents because there are a few army bases and a large portion of New York is farm country that is focused on agriculture.

  2. Jami Gilbane says:

    The congressman for my district in RI is David Cicillene. He is a junior member in the house, and is only in his second term as a congressman. He serves on the committee for Foriegn Affairs, Small Business, and Budget. In Cicillene’s district, small business makes up a large portion of the state economy, so Cicillene’s position on the small business committee makes sense. Major political contributions to his campaign were primarily made from the financial sector, Law firms, and construction companies.

    The Senior Senator in RI is Jack Reed. Reed was considered by Obama as a potential running mate for the 2008 campaign, but Reed did not consider the position. Reed’s lengthy career with the military is reflected in his stance on Foreign Defense.
    The Junior Senator is Sheldon Whitehouse. Whitehouse is an avid young senator, and serves on many Committees including the Budget, Environment, Judiciary, Intelligence, Aging, and Narcotics. Whitehouse’s position on the Committee on aging is strategic considering the fact that a large portion of his campaign contributions came from the retired.

  3. Matthew Craig says:

    The congressman for my district in Connecticut is John Larson. He is serving his 7th term. He is apart of the subcommittee on Trade and Select Revenue Measure, Armed Services Committee, Science Committee, and as a Ranking Minority Member of the House Administration Committee, Influential Ways and Means Committee. The committees that he serves on does match up with the district because its main focal point is Hartford which is a hot bed for trade, revenue and commerce. The Senior Senator is Richard Blumenthal who is in his second year in office. He was the attorney general in connecticut and brings a lot to the table in the senate like bringing an end to deceptive marketing aimed at children regarding tobacco. The Junior Senator is Chris Murphy who has served one year in senate. He served eight years in Connecticut’s general assembly and also served in the house and was chairman of the public health committee. He serves on many committee’s like health, education, and labor to name a few. Both senators are handling the legislative issues of gun control, funding for hurricane sandy and assault weapons.

  4. Nam Tran says:

    The Congressman of St. Lawrence district is Bill Owens. The committees that he is in are the Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture Committee and the Small Business Committee. The nature of the district he presents is focused in agriculture, small business and military forces. Thus, Bill Owens is fit in the committees he is in.

    The Senior Senator of New York is Charles Schumer. He is in the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senate Finance Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Chair of Rules and Administration Committee. As New York city is the leader of the US Economy and also one of the most complex urban area and mortgage housing, Schumer’s position in Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and Finance Committee is adequate. In the Senate Judiciary Committe, Schumer is the chair of Immigration, Refugee and Border Security subcomittee. The New York State is the are that borders Canada. It also has a history of Westerner immigration and World War II refugee. Thus, Schumer’s position in these areas is in the state interest.

    The Junior Senator is Kirsten Gillibrand. She is in the Armed Services Committee, the Environmental and Public Works Committee, the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging. The committee that Gillibrand is in reflect her focus on the upper New York where most of the jobs are affiliated with environment and nature and Agriculture, Forestry and problem of medicare and healthcare for elderly are concentrated in.

  5. Liana Baker says:

    My congressman is Christopher ‘Chris’ Patrick Gibson. He is a republican and represents the 19th district. Gibson serves of the House Agriculture Committee and the
    House Armed Services Committee. He has only been serving as the 19th districts congressman for two years. The Senior Senator of New York is Charles Schumer. Schumer, a democrat, is on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senate Finance Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, and he is chair of the Committee on Rules and Administration. The Junior Senator is Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand, also a democrat, is on the Environmental and Public Works Committee, the Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.

  6. Raina Puels says:

    What’s interesting about New York State is that the northern portion tends to be more conservative, while the southern portion is more liberal. Although the North Country (anywhere north of Syracuse) is land heavy, the population is much more space and spread out. This is indicative of the agricultural tendencies. South of Syracuse populations are denser in city clusters that tend to be more cooperate, or capitalist oriented. It makes sense then that in the senate we would need one representative that deals with agriculture, and one that has more of a focus on urban affairs.
    Kirsten Gillibrand is the more conservative of the two representatives. She serves on the Agriculture and Armed Services Committees. She has been considered a very conservative democrat who caters to the North Country populous. Chuck Schumer is a very liberal democrat who serves on committees about Crime, Drugs, Immigration, House, Transportation, Health Care and other topics pertinent to urban areas. This creates a balance in the Senate that represents all the facets of New York.
    Bill Owens, the House member for the majority of the North Country is a democrat, so he has to cater to his republican constituents. By serving on the Agriculture and Armed Services Committees (like Gillibrand) he can influence policy to best help the 21st district of New York.

  7. Brian Nelson says:

    Jim Himes is the congressman for the 4th district of Connecticut. He is a democrat and has been in office for the past four years. Himes is on the financial services committee. His key legislation has been on abortion, defense, education, the environment, and gun rights. Himes’s largest campaign donations come from General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co, and the metropolitan museum of art.

  8. Will Schaeffer says:

    The Representative for the 7th district of Pennsylvania is Patrick Meehan and he is currently only in his second term in office. Meehan is on committees Homeland Security, Oversight and Government Reform, House Ethics, and Transportation and Infrastructure. These committees are very similar to his legislative agenda because some of the most important legislative issue to him is transportation, government and oversight, and defense and national security.
    The two Pennsylvania Senators are Bob Casey, who is the Senior Senator, and Patrick Toomey. Both focus on some very similar key issues. Both focus on issues, such as jobs and the economy, health care, and foreign policy. However, they do have differing points at which they focus on as well. For example, Casey focuses a lot on energy sources and the environment, while Toomey does not. However, Toomey focuses greatly on Israel and the Middle East, which Casey does not.

  9. Catherine says:

    The Congressman for my district in Pennsylvania is Jim Gerlach. He is a republican who has held political positions for twenty years, the most recent ten of which have been spent in the House. He is a member several legislative committees, such as the Subcommittee on Health, the Subcommittee on Oversight, the Subcommittee on select revenue measures, and Ways and Means. His leadership positions include founding the Trust Land House Caucus, and being the co-chair of the House Ukraine Caucus, the House Land Conservation Caucus, and the House Land Trust Caucus. The district he represents spans from the western suburbs of Philadelphia to south-central PA, which is a very diverse area to represent. He is rated highest in the special interest group Business and Consumers, which makes sense seeing as I live in a growing suburb of Philadelphia and that is the culture and town model there.

    The Senior Senator of Pennsylvania is Robert P. Casey Jr. Casey is a member of the democratic party and has been in office for six years, and is currently on the Committee of Agriculture, Foreign Relations, Joint Economic Committee, Special Committee on Aging, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He is interested in Family, Children, and Environmental Issues.

    The Junior Senator of Pennsylvania is Patrick J. Toomey, and is a member of the republican party. He has been in office for three years, and is currently a member of the Budget Committee, Finance Committee, Joint Economic Committee, and the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. He remains neutral with most legislative issues, and rates most highly in all areas of the Budget, Spending and Taxes interest group.

  10. Grace Williams says:

    Louise M. Slaughter is the Representative for the 25th district in New York State. Between her and the two Senators, Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, there are many similarities in the committees they serve. Chuck Schumer the senior senator is the Chairman of Rules and Administration and Louise Slaughter is a ranking member of the Rules Committee in the House. All three of these members have also included the importance of veterans in their key legislative issues. They stress the importance of giving them the best benefits and care that they deserve. Education and students are also of major importance when it comes to what they would focus on in Legislation. It is of no surprise to me however, that their interests would be very similar. All three are democrats and serve the constituents of New York State.

  11. Andrew MacKinlay says:

    The Congressman for my district, the 9th in Massachusetts, is William Keating. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives on November 2, 2010, as one of only nine new Democratic Members to be elected to the 112th Congress. He serves on the House Committees on Homeland Security, Small Business and Foreign Affairs. There has been a recent loss of blue-collar jobs, causing business growth in the South Shore to be slower than elsewhere in the Boston area, and the presence of small businesses makes sense for William to be on that committee. His top campaign contributors were law firms DLA Piper and Nixon Peabody LLP. The NRA and Gun Owners Association recently gave Keating a rating of 0%.
    The Senior Senator for MA is John Kerry. Kerry was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in 2004 he was the Democratic presidential nominee, but lost to incumbent President George W. Bush. He became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009, was appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in 2011 and currently serves as the Secretary of State.
    The Junior Senator is Scott Brown. Brown has served as a member of the Massachusetts General Court; in the State House of Representatives until 2004 and then in the State Senate until 2010. He has served on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

  12. Sivan Saati says:

    My representative is Paul Tonko (D) of the 20th congressional district of New York State. Paul Tonko is a part of the Natural Resources Committee and Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Tonko was also chairman of the Energy Committee until 1992. Interestingly, the 20th district, specifically Albany County, has been revived with new nanotechnology facilities, companies and research centers that revolve around committees Tonko is on. Even Obama has praised Albany’s nanotech institutions as a model of the revival of the US economy.
    Senior Senator of New York State is Chuck Schumer (D) who is on the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. Junior Senator is Kirsten Gillibrand (D) who works on the Environmental and Public Works Committee, Special Committee on Aging, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and Armed Services Committee. The Committees both Schumer and Gillibrand work on are all committees that have relation to New York State issues and benefits.

  13. Sherry Pan says:

    I have Bill Owen as Congressman too. He is current in the Agriculture Committee and Armed Service Committee, and he worked for the Small Business Committee before. Obviously, the North Country is a huge agriculture territory, small business have developed well enough as well.
    As a Junior Senator, Kristen Gillbrand serves for Agriculture Committee, Armed Serive Committee and Aging Committee, it is not surprising because the upstate New York has its most part of economic source based on agriculture production, and we here have many military installations also.
    AS a senior Senator, Charles Schumer is a member of Committee on Rules and Administration, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Finance Committee, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Because New York city has been commercial center for times, and population has increased also, therefore it is necessary to deal with housing and urban problems.

  14. Max Pergament says:

    Brian Higgins is the representative for the 27th district. He is a Democrat and has been in office 8 years. he is on the Foreign Affairs committee and Homeland Security. The district is characterized as having a high skill labor force and inexpensive real estate. Chuck Schumer is the Senator for New York. He is a democrate and is the chair on the rules and admin committee as well as being on the banking, housing and urban affairs committees. The state is ranked 3rd of 50. Kristen Gillibrand is the other Senator. She is also a democrate and is on the Agriculture, Armed Services, Environment and Public Works and the Special committee on aging. The committees that Schumer and Gillibrand are on help deal with the interests of New York state

  15. Emily Ryan says:

    I also have Bill Owens as Congressman. Bill Owens is currently in the Agriculture Committee and Armed Service Committee. Bill Owens has also worked for the Small Business Committee. The Junior Senator is Kristen Gillbrand who serves for Agriculture Committee, Armed Services Committee and the Aging Committee. The Senior Senator is Charles Schumer, who is a member of Committee on Rules and Administration, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Finance Committee, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
    Together these three representatives help shape the area in which I live. The Agriculture interests help take care of many local farmers who otherwise would not be very well represented. The Small Business Committee helps to allow entrepreneurs to become interested in investing in the area. The Armed Forces helps take care of the many soldiers and their families in the area. Every committee these individuals serves on, helps improve the area tenfold.

  16. Taylor Gale says:

    I too have Congressman Bill Owens and Senators Chuck Schumer, and Kirsten Gillibrand. What interested me about the Scavenger hunt was seeing the top campaign contributors and the Interest group ratings. Bill Owens top campaign contributor is Northrop Grumman, the 4th largest defense contractor in the nation. This to me is not very surprising, given Fort Drum, a military base within the district has a heavy reliance of defense contractors. Chuck Schumer’s top campaign contributor is a international financial firm, which is logical given Schumer’s role on the banking committee, and being from New York where most of the world trade market occurs. Kirsten Gillibrand receives the most campaign money from one of the nations top law firms, Boies, Schiller, This makes sense because Gillibrand used to be a lawyer before becoming a congresswomen, then senator. The one particular thing I thought was interesting regarding the interest groups is that many of the three were the same, such as Planned Parenthood, defenders of wildlife, etc. However one area the two senators differed from Owens was on gun owners groups. Owens ranked very high with the NRA, which was a interest group on the lower rating for both senators. I believe this relates to the area that Bill Owens represents, who are for the most part, avid hunters here in the North Country.

  17. Dan Hunt says:

    As a part of district 2 in Connecticut, Congressmen Joe Courtney is my representative in the house. He has had a seat since 2006 and has a strong influence in the Democratic Party. He is a part of the Armed Services committee as well as the agricultural committee both of which are very important to the district. Groton Naval base and the Coast Guard academy are both part of the district and provide a lot of jobs. Courtney is a senior official in the Sea power and projection forces and military readiness subcommittees and has been able to receive many funds from Washington to build submarines and other naval machines. His campaign contributors include businesses that have a stake in the production of submarines. Richard Blumenthal is Connecticut’s senior senator and has been for the past two years. He has done a lot of work against tobacco companies and the deceptive advertising to young kids. The junior Senator is new this year so he does not have to much authority as of now. He is a part of the Health, Education, Labor, Pensions (HELP) committee as well as foreign relations. He as well as Senator Blumenthal have worked on guns and ammunition laws.

  18. Ryan Karklin says:

    The Congressman for District number 6, Central New Jersey is Frank Pallone Jr. who is on the Natural Resources committee and one of his key issues is the environment. This is significant because District 6 is known for its beautiful beaches and National Parks such as Sandy Hook. Being on this committee would result in his ability to receive funding for these parks and beaches. He also takes interest in gas prices which is interesting because New Jersey has decent gas prices in comparison to somewhere like Long Island. Our senior Senator is Frank Lautenberg who is the Chairman of the Environment Committee. Again, this would result in significant funding for the Jersey Shore which is the pride and joy of New Jersey.

  19. MacKenzie Condon says:

    John Tierney, is the representative for the 6th district of Massachusetts. Tierney is a democrat that has been serving in the House for 16 years. He serves on the Education and Workforce Committee, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations Subcommittee. The make-up of his district is primarily middle to upper class towns and cities. His key legislative issues are economy and job creation, education, energy and the environment, retirement security for seniors, veterans, and help for small businesses. His main campaign contributors were American Crystal Sugar, Holland and Knight, the National Community Action Foundation, the American Association for Justice, the American Federation of Jurors, and the American Postal Workers Union.

    The senior Senator from Massachusetts is currently William Cowan, who was previously a lawyer in Boston. Governor Deval Patrick appointed him to serve as an interim United States senator until voters chose a successor to John Kerry (who was just appointed to the position of Secretary of State) in a special election which will take place on June 25, 2013.

    The junior Senator from Massachusetts is currently Elizabeth Warren, who was elected to office less than a year ago. Her key legislative issues are education, LGBT rights equality, immigration, healthcare, housing, and national security. Her main campaign contributors were, Harvard University, MIT, the University of California, and Ropes and Gray.

  20. Ben says:

    State/district: Vermont: 9,614 sq. mi., 620,589 pop. (2007), 62.7% rural, 37.3% urban, 40.4 years median age, 325,046 voter turnout (66%)

    Representative: Peter Welch, Democrat. At large in district. 6 years in office, current committees: House Energy and Commerce. Leadership positions in Congress: Chief Deputy Whip. Legislative Issues: environment, education, tax. Campaign contributors: Mentor Network, American Crystal Sugar. Non-legislative committees: Brian Injury Task Force, Congressional Arts Caucus, Congressional Multiple Sclerosis Caucus.

    Senior Senator: Patrick Leahy, Democrat. 39 years in office, current committees: Senate Judiciary Committee, Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. Legislative Issues: Security, Environment, Taxes. Campaign contributors: Technet, Girardi. Non legislative committees: Senate National Guard Caucus, Congressional Internet Caucus, Democratic Steering and Coordination Committee.

    Junior Senator: Bernie Sanders, Independent. 7 years in office, current committees: Senate Budget Committee, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Legislative Issues: Energy, Environment, Security. Campaign Contributors: United Steelworkers, American Association for Justice. Non-legislative committees: Congressional Child Care Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Prescription Drug Task Force.

  21. William Mesinger says:

    I found it very interesting that Bill Owens, the representative of the 21st district, was put on the Committee on Appropriations given that he has only served three years in office, and this is a very powerful committee. This will enable Owens to suggest that Fort Drum is preserved and continues to receive funding, an issue that Owens is passionate about. I was also surprised that one of Owens’ top campaign contributors was the National Beer Wholesalers Association ($12,500). Both Senators for New York State, Charles Schumer (Senior Senator) and Kirsten Gillibrand (Junior Senator) have focused on issues in New York City in a post-9/11 America. Schumer has been concerned with homeland security, while Gillibrand has been concerned with compensation to the first responders. Though they focus on different issues and serve on different committees, both Schumer and Gillibrand’s primary interest group is Attorneys and Law Firms.

  22. John DeLorenzo says:

    I am also part of the 21st district in New York state and my congressman is Bill Owens. As will jut stated i found it very interesting that he was placed on the committee on appropriations especially for only being a member of the house since 2009. the senior senator of new york state is Chuck Schumer. He serves on the rules committee, the senate judiciary committee, the senate finance committee, and the banking housing and urban affairs committee. The junior senator for my state is Kirsten Gillibrand. She serves on the committee for aging, environment and public works, armed services and agriculture. In new york state the main issues for all three congressmen are economy, education , healthcare, taxes, agriculture veterans housing energy and environment, and small businesses.

  23. William Marvin says:

    The Representative for the 2nd District in New Hampshire is Ann Kuster. 2013 is her first year in the house and she is on the committees for Veteran’s Affairs and Agriculture. This make sense because there are a good amount of veterans in NH and a large amount of small farms. The senior Senator is Jeanne Shaheen who was elected in 2008. She is on the committees for foreign relations, armed services, small business and appropriations. New Hampshire has a large amount of small business and several military bases, most notably Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The junior Senator is Kelly Ayotte who was elected in 2010. She serves on the committees for armed services, commerce, homeland security, budget, and aging. The other representative is Carol Shea-Porter making New Hampshire the first state in history to have an all female federal delegation.

  24. Maggie Shine says:

    John Oliver is the representative for district 1 of Massachusetts. He has been a member of 4 different committees while in office and was the chairman of the House Appropriations committee. The characteristics of the area is Mass is working class communities, small towns and liberal and radical academics in college towns. He worked on increasing funding for housing vouchers, public transit and community development block grants.
    The most recent senior senator of Massachusetts is John Kerry, although he has been reappointed because he is now the secretary of state. He was the chairman of the Foreign Relations committee and he was also the chairman of the small business and entrepreneurship committees. His key legislative issues are disaster relief, job protection and recession prevention and extending the foreign intelligence surveillance.
    The Junior Senator is recently elected Elizabeth Warren. Her Key legislative issues are education, health care and GBLT rights. She is part of the banking, housing and urban affairs committee, health, labor, education and pensions committee and lastly, the special committee on aging. Many of her largest campaign contributors were large universities in the Boston area which I found very interesting.

  25. Alan Shortz says:

    Not surprisingly, my Representative of the second district in the state of Connecticut, Joe Courtney’s committee positions run along parallel lines with the wants and needs of our specific district. Being a district containing a state forest it makes perfect sense that Representative Courtney would be on the Environmental subcommittee as he most certainly uses that position to advocate for the specific needs of our district. Furthermore, Representative Courtney is the co-chair for the bipartisan Congressional Shipbuilding caucus, which is very directly transparent to the needs of our district as we are not only a largely coastal district but we have a historical Marina as well as a naval sub base.

    It was interesting to observe the key contributors to Courtney’s recent campaigns as well as the major interest groups surrounding his representation. It is not surprising to see that his top contributor was General Dynamics but it did indeed surprise me to see that Yale University has supported him to varying degrees with each election.

  26. mrmcta12 says:

    Being from District 4 in Connecticut, Jim Himes, a Democrat, represents my town of Fairfield. He has served four years in office and is part of the Financial Service Committee. Himes represents the majority of Fairfield and New Haven counties including the cities of Stamford and Bridgeport. He has focused on issues such as abortion (pro-choice), defense budget, education, the environment, health care especially for senior citizens, transportation being from a metropolitan area, animal rights, and he has recently began campaign for more severe gun control. Some of his top donors include General Electric and Goldman Sachs.
    Connecticut’s senior senator, Richard Blumenthal, is also a Democrat who has spent just two years in office. He serves on the Armed Services, Health and Education, Judiciary, and Aging committees. He is instrumental in many of our states unique characteristics including our banking system and close proximity to New York City. He is very involved on topics including the economy, education, health care, housing for the elderly, and veteran affairs. His top contributors include Yale and Cablevision Systems. An interest group he was involved with included Schiller and Flexner.
    Our state’s junior senator is Chris Murphy, also a Democrat. He has spent 5 years in office and serves on the foriegn relations, health and education, and joint economics committees. He is very active in economic policy, health care reform, educational reform, women’s health, renewable energy, and government accountability issues. His main campaign contributors included, Yale University, and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. Northeast Utilities has an interest group that has contacted Murphy several times.

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