November Question: Congressional Appointment

Is there a way to change Congressional apportionment in the House to make it “fair”?  If yes, how?  If no, why not?

Congressional appointment in the United States House of Representatives favors some citizens over others. Citizens in some states have lower representation, as their vote is less important considering there are more voters for a single representative. Within a state this can be combated by dividing the population by the number of representatives, but between states this cannot happen. As a result, between states there are differences in representation. Another issue of congressional representation relates to how American territories and districts lack congressional voting power as well. Territories like Guam, Puerto Rico, and also the federal District of Columbia amount to millions of American citizens but have no representation in Congress. There are a few options that can be considered to make the appointment to the House of Representatives fairer, but any changes should be relatively small or none at all.

Changing Congressional Representation within states to make it “fairer” is something that they should not change to “fix.” Due to changing populations and the census, it would be impossible to always ensure every representative has an equal number of citizens. The only way this would be possible would be to remove statehood boundaries for House representatives, which would require an extensive constitutional amendment. This would cause more issues than help. It would make congressional districts focus around cities, rather than the boundaries of states. The framework that state boundaries give allow for congressional districts to be divided in proportion to the state population’s ideology. Removing the states lines for a congressional district takes away the central focus that the Constitution bases Congress on. Congress is to be centered on states with the House of Representatives basing representatives on individual state populations. There is no easy small change to make in order to “fix” this “problem.” Any change to try and effect this would be detrimental and more damaging than effective. The issue that different citizens have more representation than others is something that each state is different on, but it is not so much an issue that drastic change is required. Congress’ foundation is in states, and it should remain that way.

The second issue over no congressional representation in United States territories -such as Guam, Puerto Rico, and more- challenges Congress’ foundation in states as well. Currently, in order for these territories to gain voting power they would have to apply for statehood and get accepted to gain two senators and however many representatives in the house. Changes to accommodate the over four million Americans could be less drastic. Adding some representatives in the house and two senators in the senate would be a reasonable accommodation for these citizens. It is more reasonable as well to combine all the territories into one group for a couple reasons. First this would accommodate for territories entering and leaving the Union without an extreme amount of changes. Secondly it would help to prevent the role of statehood from diminishing. This accommodation is something that is possible, but unlikely. It would have to pass like the 23rd Amendment. This amendment added three electoral votes to the District of Columbia for the Electoral College. Rather than adding just three electoral votes, another amendment could be made to include all United States territories and citizens not represented in a state. They could be given not only representation in congress, but also electoral votes. If they decided to change representatives based on the population in territories, they would have five to seven representatives. In total it would also give them seven to nine electoral votes. Due to many states not having that many votes it is unlikely to get anywhere. A different amendment that limits them to one representative and two senators would probably get more support in states because they would not lose as much power. The number of representatives and electoral votes is able to be changed, but it still leaves a foundation of giving them some representation in congress.

Although the House of Representatives may not be “fair” for individual citizens, it is fair for states. States get their representatives in proportion to the other states. Any change to make it “fair” for each and every individual would require major changes. These changes would likely cause more trouble due to removing the focus away from states. The territories and districts without voting representation in congress is something that could be fixed. Adding senators and representatives in a “American Territories and Districts” group would allow for some more representation, but still keeps the focus on states. This has a larger possibility of happening considering the barriers to statehood have become higher to overcome. This is a limited change that could also be applied to the Electoral College as well. Any change for Congressional appointment in the House should be limited to ensure that the focus remains on statehood. Nonetheless, small changes could be acceptable in order to increase representation for individual citizens without any representation.

Peer Mentor Interview

I interviewed John Healy, my peer mentor. He is an Industrial Engineering Major and is in Politics, Society, and Laws Scholars. One of his extracurricular is ISC and over the summer he has worked at a summer camp and beach club. This summer he is looking for something related to his major for work. He has previously shadowed a lawyer and is considering Law School after college. Considering Law School is something he got out of being in PSL. The law track and politics track are something that I have an interest in both. He advised that the political track may be useful considering that I am already in pre-law to have a balance. He advised that I should get close to my professors. This would be important in the future with recommendation letters, exams, and other things. For exams he advised to go to professor office hours to help review. Going over notes and other resources is also an important way of studying as well. Lastly he also advised to be outgoing and have fun. Academics is important to focus on, but it is beneficial to have a balance as well

 

Working Experience

Tinseltown Cinemark USA: Worked at the concession stand. For my first job I learned skills in dealing with money, food, customers, and general working. These are basic working skills that will be applicable across all fields.

Rand Paul for United States Senate 2016: This was my first campaign internship and I worked on it for eight months. I would do phone banking, fund raising, and event working during this time. During events I learned to deal with microphones, stages, and seemingly small things like table placement.

Tavish Kelly for Mississippi State Representative 2016: I drove ten hours to Mississippi in order to work on the campaign for a weekend. We primarily door knocked and talked to strangers in order to convince them to vote during the special election. The primary received little attention due to it being a special election.

UPS: Worked two months at UPS as a package handler. This was my first blue collar job and a different work experience in general. I learned not only skills to preform my job, but also management information concerning employees and unions.

First GOALS

Global awareness focuses on accepting each others differences and growing to understand those differences. I also like to look at it by searching for similarities in everyone. If we always focus on differences then we will end up dividing ourselves, but we can search for similarities that bring us together. Global awareness I believe is focusing on two things. Accept differences of others and search for similarities. I believe I have already begun working on this through my foreign language. I am taking Japanese and it has given me an improved perspective on a very different culture.

Original Inquiry is a way people strive for knowledge through research. This is something that the individual person must be passionate about and they also have to be the driving force in their project. The project can be a variety of different things. I believe in the future I will have the chance to strive for my own original inquiries through programs, internships, and jobs. This working experience will be a way to strive for knowledge and practical applications in the work field.

Academic Enrichment is the pursuit of knowledge in multiple ways. At Ohio State I will be focusing on this heavily. I want to push myself academically by maintaining high grades and standards for my work. Along with this I will challenge myself by double majoring and attempting to graduate early. I will take more difficult classes in the pursuit of knowledge rather than just an easy one to get rid of a requirement. Academics is the primary reason for being at college so it is the most important.

Leadership development is the gaining of skills to guide others in the right direction. It does not just take good decision making, but also the courage to guide others in the first place. I will strive to develop my leadership skills by getting more involved with the community. This does not just mean joining clubs and organizations, but playing an active role in them. I want to be able to play a role in the growth of the community around me.

Service engagement is getting involved with the community around me to help develop and improve it. At Ohio State I am getting involved in a variety of different organizations, but service engagement goes beyond just that. Charitable organizations that Ohio State offers or even getting involved in Columbus engages myself with the community. I want to truly be able to call Columbus home.

First Post

My name is Clayton Thebert and I am Freshman at The Ohio State University. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and attended Saint Xavier High School.

I am attending Ohio State to further my education and to help develop my social and leadership skills. I am majoring in Finance and Public Policy Analysis. These majors use real life application in both the public and private sectors as well with for-profits and non-profit companies.

While in high school I developed an interest in business and politics. When I took AP Macroeconomics, AP United States Government and Politics, and AP Comparative Government and Politics my interest developed for these academic areas. I will be advancing my education in these areas through my majors.

I have a career interest in law and politics. I have worked on Rand Paul’s 2016 Senate campaign and a small state race in 2016 as well. These internships have helped to develop my understanding of campaigns and politics in general. Through what I have learned, and continuing to learn, I will hopefully implement it to practice.

I think I am right where I should be at Ohio State. I believe I will get the most benefit here in leadership and my education. I will also seek to give back through leadership and involvement in all that Ohio State has to offer.

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

G.O.A.L.S.

[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.

  • Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc.
  • Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
  • Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
  • Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
  • Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]

Career

[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

Artifacts

[Artifacts are the items you consider to be representative of your academic interests and achievements. For each entry, include both an artifact and a detailed annotation.  An annotation includes both a description of the artifact and a reflection on why it is important to you, what you learned, and what it means for your next steps.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]