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Write a paragraph describing the district the member represents. Where is it located in the state? Does it include any major cities or is it part of a major city?

Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas —–1. Write a paragraph describing the personal, professional, and educational background of the Congressman Pete Sessions before he entered Congress. Focus on the non-political aspects of the member’s life. In what ways is the representative you are studying typical of other members of the House? In what ways is he or she atypical? (Base your judgment on the description of the typical member of Congress found at the following Internet site: http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?pid=&0BL)PL;=
) (10 pts.)
2. Write a paragraph describing the representative’s political background. Identify the elected and appointed positions in government the representative has held. Is the representative a career politician? What is the basis for your judgment? You may wish to discuss what it means to be a career politician in your answer. (10 pts.)
3. Write a paragraph describing the district the member represents. Where is it located in the state? Does it include any major cities or is it part of a major city? Is it inner-city urban, suburban, small town, or rural? Are there any issues that might be particularly important to the individuals and groups found in the member’s district because of the nature of the district? Identify at least one issue and explain why it is particularly important in this congressional district, whereas it might not be as important in other districts. (10 pts.)
4. Write a paragraph discussing the representative’s committee assignments. On which standing congressional committees does the member serve? Is the representative the chair or ranking minority member of each committee? What sorts of policy issues does each of the standing committees address? Is the representative a member of any subcommittees? Does he/she chair any subcommittees or serve as the ranking member? (10 pts.)
5. How much money did the representative raise for the 2010 election? How much did his or her main opponent raise? (If the database indicates that a challenger raised no money, it means just that the challenger raised no money.) How does the incumbent’s fundraising compare with the average for members of the House in 2010? (The Center for Responsive Politics presents data on this issue at the following Internet address:
http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/index.php?cycle=2010&Type=R&Display=A.) What were the most important sources of the representative’s campaign funds? Identify two or three important donors. Did the candidate self-fund to any significant degree? (Click on the representative’s name at the website and it opens up to provide detailed data.) The textbook discusses congressional elections on pp. 332-333. (10 pts.)
6. What percentage of the vote did the representative receive in the 2010 election? Based on the results of the 2010 election and the data on fundraising, does it appear that this representative is firmly entrenched in Congress? (Entrenched means unlikely to be defeated for reelection anytime soon.) Why or why not? Is this typical for members of Congress in general? (10 pts.)
7. The Project Vote Smart website includes links to several interest groups that rate members of Congress based on their voting records. The group identifies a set of votes that it considers important and gives the member a score depending on whether the member supports the policy positions favored by the group. Select one of the groups (using the pull-down menu) and research its evaluation of the member of Congress you are studying. What group did you select? (Choose a specific group rather than a category of groups.) With what sorts of issues is the group concerned? Be specific. How does the group feel about the member of Congress you are studying? Would you expect the group to consider him or her an ally, an enemy, or something in between? Discuss. (10 pts.)
8. The Project Vote Smart website includes a link to speeches and public statements of each representative. Review some of the recent speeches and public statements of the representative you are studying. Identify an issue on which the representative has recently focused. What is the issue? Why does the representative think it is important? What position has the representative taken? (10 pts.)
9. To which political party does the member of Congress belong? Based on his or her voting record, interest group evaluations, fundraising sources, and issue positions, would you say that he or she is typical or atypical of members of his or her party? Explain the reasoning behind your answer. (10 pts.)
10. Do you admire the representative? Why or why not? Be specific. (10 pts.)

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