Critical Thinking Assignment #2 – Substantive Representation

GOVT 2306 – Dr. Lukash Shrestha Critical Thinking Assignment #2 – Substantive RepresentationOBJECTIVE: This assignment has two key purposes: 1) to familiarize the student with their congressional representative and their stance on a key issue; 2) to assess the student’s sense of personal responsibility (ethical choices and consequences) by expressing a position on that same issue and the social impact of that position. This means you are showing your ability to understand your representative’s position on an important political matter and to compare your own position with their stance—all while exploring how this issue impacts your communityBACKGROUND: You should remember that the last assignment explored the idea of “descriptive representation”—who represents us and how (identity was the key here). This time the focus is on “substantive representation”—how are we actually represented and how should we be represented? Here’s a quick definition of substantive representation:Substantive representation is the legislative activity of a representative. This means their views/values and how they actually behave in office (how they vote on legislation, what kind of legislation they author/support, etc.). From the substantive side, it is less important who they are. What matters is what they do.PROCEDURES: You should remember from your last assignment who your representative is. In case you forgot, you can get back to their website by following the steps below:1) Go to this interactive map to find your congressional district: http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/?PlanHeader=PLANc2352) Once you have found it, go to Google and search for your congressional district. Terms like “Texas Congressional District ##” should work. Find the Wikipedia page for your district (yes, it’s okay this time). Keep this page handy, you will need the demographic into at the top-right part of the page.3) Next, navigate to https://www.house.gov/representatives/ and scroll down to your district number to find the name of your representative. Click on your representative’s name (should be a hyperlink) to go to their congressional page (feel free to sign up for the email list). Keep this page handy also.Once you get to your representative’s web page, you can start on the research and writing portion. DON’T FORGET: You are largely being graded for how the completeness of your responses. This means that every question should be answered in AT LEAST 7 complete sentences and IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Put in effort and you should be in good shape!WRITTEN PORTION: Your first task is to explore your representative’s substantive representation (i.e. values and voting record). [PR1 and PR2]Using their official website, find a policy issue that your representative has taken a stand on (this will take some exploring, don’t be lazy). Explain the issue briefly (why is this an issue of political importance?).Once you have explained the issue, provide information regarding the stance of your representative on the issue (this should come from their website or other research from a news site). What is their position? Is their stance liberal or conservative and why?Compare/contrast your position with that of your representative. Where do you stand on the issue? Is your stance conservative or liberal? Next, try to articulate the opposing view. What might their objections be and what are the merits of their argument? Finally, respond to these objections while explaining—with logic—why your perspective is correct and theirs is mistaken.Now that you have officially staked out a policy position, you need to think about how to get it put into action. [SR2]Who in the government OR community should be involved (community organizations, groups, political party, religious institutions, etc.)? What specific actions can you (and others) take? Why is it important to get people involved in this cause and what will be the benefits of this action?Let’s assume that you are successful in your efforts, and you achieve your policy goal (your position is put into action). Now it is time to assess the impact of this potential change. [PR3]Explain the potential consequences of putting your argument into action. How would this improve your community, state, and country? What do you think will be the short-term effects (within the next year or two)? How about the long-term impacts (beyond 2 years)? Finally, what are some negative unintended consequences that might result from this course of action?

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