About the Job
Let’s have a frank conversation about the position you are hiring for. There are eleven candidates in this race. We all have some degree of likeability, life experience and a desire to participate in the way government works.
What A Member of Congress Does
- Reads Draft Laws
A US House Representatives first and most important job is critically reading, evaluating, editing, creating and voting on proposed legislation. What does that actually mean? Bills are highly technical documents that usually require lots of cross-referencing with Federal Code, various agency policies, state laws and the benefit of constituents. This is a tedious job that requires attention to detail, long hours and mad highlighting skills. This part of the job should never be outsourced to staff (other than to have the staff pull the cross-references or if there is a bill book club to bounce ideas off of each other). You are hiring your Representative to make laws on your behalf. This should be the most important skill set.
- Gains Information
It is not realistic for a Representative to be an expert on every topic. Internet neutrality, environmental protection, infrastructure development, healthcare policy and cyber-espionage are not generally related topics. Your Representative will need to make sure they are reaching out to credible, diverse subject matter experts on a variety of topics. This will probably include constituents, lobbyists, scientists, librarians, industry experts, and a host of others. There needs to be a critical eye for bias and accuracy when considering information.
- Explains Things
Your Representative should also be able to explain to you why they did or did not vote for each bill and what the bill is about. Our hyper-partisan world has made the process of finding common ground challenging, but the best laws usually come with a healthy dose of perspectives. Your Representative needs to be able to balance these perspectives and have a comprehensive understanding of the subject.
- Works in Committees
Representatives serve on a variety of committees with a wide range of topics. This helps Congress divvy up the workload of working on all of the bills at once by topic. Check out the list of committees and what they do.
- Advocates for Constituents
Representatives have a wide range of services to constituents including arranging tours of the capital, assisting in internships, helping troubleshoot immigration and visa issues, helping with federal agencies and issues for veterans.
- Promotes Maine
This is more of an optional “duty” but part of representing Maine is sharing how wonderful our great state is with everyone.
When you vote, vote for who can do all of these things well. Let’s make 2018 the way politics should be.