Critical Thinking

Homestyle More common of newer congress members Mindful

Homestyle and Washington Career

How does an elected
representative’s view of his/her constituency affect his or her political
behavior? This is the troubling question that Eichard F. Fenno Jr. trys to
uncover an answer to in his passage Homestyle and Washington Career. For Fenno
to answer this he first identified what a member of congress’s goals were. He
believesthe three main goals are re-election, good public policy, and power in
congress. Re-election has more to do with a congress
member’s constituency career. While power
in congress and good public policy have more to
do with their Washington career.

Secondly Fenno had to explain the different
ways that Members of
congress might view their constituency. Below is a chart that shows the different ways Constituency Career and Washington Career
could be viewed as:

Constituency
Career
More common of newer congress members
Mindful of constituents 
Re-election is the primary goal 
Return home more frequently than senior
members
A larger portion of staff is in home districts
Usually leave family behind more often than
senior members
Focus on a constituency career can leave
members feeling as if they haven’t had much power or influence in Washington
 

Washington
Career
More common
among incumbents
Less attention
payed to home district
Two major goals
are to have influence in congress and to make good public policy
Involvement in
politics is fueled more by their personal desire and attitudes
Spends a majority
of time in Washington, less visits to home district
Less staff
members are from their home district
 

 

Thirdly, there are solutions. One
solution could be Balancing
Homestyle and Washington Career by
Organizing districts to make things easier in Washington and Increase number of district staff to make up for own
absence. Another possible solution
is making one’s influence in Washington the center of their homestyle career. This would require constituents to adopt new set of expectations.
Lastly, gain new supporters to compensate for
loss by using influence in
Washington to alter support patterns in home districts