My Civic Workout recently asked subscribers to look up the answers to these questions:
- Who are your elected officials?
- Where are their newsletters?
- When are their upcoming town hall meetings?
I live in San Francisco, and if you live in my general vicinity, all of the information below should apply to you too. If you live elsewhere, consider taking some time to research your own elected officials and share your work with your local friends.
Here are the links I used:
I couldn’t find websites or newsletters for everyone. Most people do seem to have campaign newsletters, but those aren’t the same thing as constituent newsletters. One reason might be that newly sworn in members haven’t set everything up yet (as of early January 2017): for example, Kamala Harris was elected to the Senate and Scott Wiener was elected to the State Senate on November 8, 2016.
Each state has two Senators that represent everyone in the state. If you live in California, both Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris represent you, regardless of where in the state you live.
Each person has exactly one representative in the House of Representatives. The districts don’t necessarily line up with city names. You might need your zip code or even your street address to figure out who represents you in the House. Nancy Pelosi represents most, but not all, of San Francisco.
Legislation can be introduced by either the House or the Senate. If someone tries to introduce a nationwide version of SB 1070, Arizona’s notorious racial profiling bill, it could come from either the House or the Senate.
Cabinet nominations and Supreme Court nominations are confirmed by the Senate. When the president chooses people to lead the Department of Homeland Security or the State Department, or to fill an empty spot on the Supreme Court, the Senate needs to sign off on each of those choices.
Senator Dianne Feinstein
San Francisco office: 415-393-0707
Washington DC office: 202-224-3841
Senator Kamala Harris
San Francisco office: 916-448-2787
Washington DC office: 202-224-3553
Legislation can be introduced by either the Assembly or the (State) Senate, which are similar to the House and the US Senate. One important difference is that State Senators don’t serve the whole state; instead, they have their own districts which are a bit bigger than Assembly Members’ districts.
Scott Wiener serves San Francisco, Daly City, and Colma in the Senate. David Chiu serves the eastern half of San Francisco in the Assembly; Phil Ting serves the western half of San Francisco.