Congress the George Washington way: Smaller districts; many, many more members

35301 full
35301 full

Quick: Who’s your member of Congress? Tougher still: Who’s on the ballot Tuesday in your newly redrawn district? If George Washington had his way, more Americans would be more familiar with their member of the House of Representatives.

One reason for the disconnect between voters and the people they send to Washington is the sheer size of Congressional districts. That’s the opinion of Republican political pollster Scott Rasmussen. These days, a member of Congress represents enough constituents to fill the Rose Bowl nearly eight times over.

Rasmussen says that at the Constitutional Convention George Washington lobbied for one amendment: Limit Congressional districts to include no more than 50,000 people.

"The amendment obviously didn’t become law," he says. "If it had, our history would be fundamentally different. We’d have five or six thousand members in Congress right now, and they’d probably be meeting in regional places."

Rasmussen admits that these days, even if someone doesn’t know who represents their district, when they need help, the internet can make a constituent services aide a phone call or mouse click away.

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