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023 Name your U.S. Representative.

23. Name your U.S. Representative.
Answers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or resident
Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also
acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in

It’s important for Americans to know not only who their U.S. Representative is, but also how he or she is representing them. Americans need to know how their representatives are voting and whether or not those votes accurately (or correctly) represent their interests. If the representative isn’t voting the way that his or her constituents (or the people represented by a representative) want, then those constituents should vote for someone else in the next elections.

However, it could be difficult and time-consuming (or taking a lot of time) to find out how a representative is voting. That is because the U.S. Congress spends a lot of time talking about important issues and voting on many different bills (or ideas for new laws). A normal American wouldn’t have time to read all of those bills and find out how his or her representative is voting. That would be a full-time job!

Fortunately, many organizations try to gather (or collect) this information, summarize it (or say the most important ideas in fewer words), and share that information with voters, so that they can make informed decisions. Some groups provide biographical information (or information about a person’s life) about
representatives, as well as their voting records (or a list of how a person has voted on all decisions during a certain period of time). People can quickly read this information to determine how well their representative is representing them.

The website for the U.S. House of Representatives provides the roll call votes, or lists of how representatives have voted over time. However, the other organizations make this information easier to understand, because they also explain what the votes mean for each bill and show changes in a representative’s votes over time. Many people study the voting records published by these organizations before they decide who they want to vote for.


constituents – the people represented by an elected official; the people who live in an area that an elected official represents
* How many constituents do you represent?

time-consuming – taking a lot of time; needing or requiring a lot of time
* Her work isn't difficult, but it is very time-consuming.

bill – a proposal or an idea for a new law
* The state wants to introduce a new bill that would make everyone wear a seatbelt while driving.

to gather – to collect; to find many things and put them together
* The university is trying to gather information about where its former students are working.

to summarize – to say the most important ideas in fewer words
* Please read this magazine article and summarize it in just three sentences.

biographical information – information about a person’s life; information about who a person is and what he or she has done
* This website has biographical information on many famous people.

voting record – a list of how a person has voted on all decisions during a certain period of time
* Will you read the Senator's voting record before you decide whether you will vote for him again?

roll call votes – a list of how each representative voted on a particular bill
* According to the roll call votes, 272 representatives voted for the law, 142 voted against it and 18 didn't vote on it.