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024 Who does a U.S. Senator represent?

24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
All people of the state

Here’s an interesting thing about the U.S. government: even if you vote against the person who wins an election (or a competition to see who gets the most votes and is chosen for a public position), he or she has to represent you! In other words, if you vote for person A to become senator, but person B wins, then person B must represent you just as if you had voted for him or her! That is why we say that U.S. senators represent all the people of a state.

How does a senator do this? Obviously (or clearly), a senator cannot meet and speak with all the people whom he or she represents. This would take up too much time and he or she would never be able to attend the Senate sessions (or meetings with other representatives). So, instead of speaking with everyone in the state, senators rely on (or depend on or use) opinion polls (or surveys or questionnaires) that show what most people in their state think about important topics. This is an easy way for a senator to know what most people think about a certain law without having to call everyone to ask.

Senators also try to create opportunities for interested voters to speak with them about pressing issues (or topics that they think are most important). Voters can always call, email, or write to their senators to share their opinions. Senators also have offices where they can meet with their constituents (or the people they represent). They normally have an office in Washington, D.C. where the Senate sessions are held (or where they happen), and at least one office in their state, usually in the most important city or cities. When Senate is in session (or having meetings), the senators are in Washington, D.C. The rest of the time, they are normally in their home states, speaking with voters and planning what they want to do the next time the Senate is in session.


election – a competition to see who gets the most votes and is chosen for a public position
* How many Americans voted in the last U.S. presidential election?

obviously – clearly; easily seen and understood
* Obviously, if you want to become a doctor, you have to go to medical school.

session – a meeting
* Did your senator attend all of the sessions last month?

to rely on (something) – to need and use something; to depend on something
* We rely on the public busses to get to work each day.

poll – a survey; a questionnaire; a question or a list of questions asked of many people to find out the opinions of a group or of the general public
* We're conducting a poll to learn what people think about our products. Are you willing to answer a few questions?

pressing issue – a topic that is extremely important
* The rising cost of healthcare is a pressing issue in the United States.

constituents – the people represented by an elected official; the people who live in an area that an elected official represents
* The Senator has meetings with his constituents each month to learn about what is most important to them.

to hold (a meeting) – to have a meeting at a particular time and place
* Their conference was held last Wednesday at the Grand Hotel.

in session – having a meeting
* Quiet, please! This court is now in session.