StephanieMorilloPOSC198GProfessorLoveridgeDecember7, 2017Introduction:Duringthe first week of the quarter I was looking for another Political Science classto enroll in but after talking to my advisor and expressing my desire to get aninternship she suggested me to talk to Professor Loveridge who was in hisoffice. I had wanted to take an internship with through his class but I when wehad to sign up for an appointment all the appointment sloths were full. Idecided to take a chance and approach him to ask him if he had any internships available.He told me that one student had actually dropped the class and that he waslooking for an intern for Congressman Mark Takano’s office. Since I had takenhis Political Science 198G class before and had received an A, he was willingto add me in his class without a need of an interview.
I was very glad to knowI was going to take the class again but I had never seen myself interning for acongressman. Due to our lack of classes related to local politics at UCR I was notsure what a congressman’s job in his/her district. The few knowledge I had inregards to a congressman’s job was that he/she was part of the House ofRepresentatives whose job is to pass bills and vote on legislation. About ayear and a half ago my goals were very different from the current one.
I wantedto go to law school and possibly get a human rights degree. I was very unsureabout this path but I wanted to work in a field related to public service.Those intentions had not changed but I hoped that this internship would give mea better insight of what my next step should be after I graduate.
Overall, interning at the office ofCongressman Mark Takano helped me realize how broad the job of thecongressman’s staff. I did not know how many services were provided to theconstituents in the pertaining district. Services which I had never heard couldbe taken care of from a congressman’s office like helping with taxes or socialsecurity issues. I always believed that constituents always had to seek forassistance directly from the respective institutions. Through my interactionwith some of the staff I was able to learn that at some point in their lives theywere also not sure what they wanted to do with their careers. At my age I wouldhave wanted to be sure of what I want to do with my career but I was told thatit was okay.
I learned that we get to figure that out with time and throughexperience. After this experience I now have no doubt that I would like to workin public service because helping others is just very satisfying for me.I wasable to learn about the work of congress and make connections with the work Iwas doing at the office through two books.
TheU.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Ritchie, Donald and One Nation After Trump: A Guide for thePerplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported byDionne, Jr., E.
J. These two books explained to me the work of congress and itspurpose. Congress is many times considered the most important branch ofgovernment. Currently having 435 members in the House of Representatives, someof their basic responsibilities is legislation, education and advocacy. Somewould argue that advocacy is one of the main important duties as it “involvespleading their constituents’ interests and attitudes on national issues andproviding them with constituent service”1.As a democracy promoting and protecting constituent’s views and interest isvery important. District 41st:District41st constitutes the cities of Jurupa Valley, Moreno Valley, Perrisand Riverside with a population of 760,165.
Currently having Mark Takano as thecongressman, this is his third term in office. Contituents show theirsatisfaction through the reelection of their congressmen since there is nore-election limit. In The U.S. Congress:A Very Short Introduction by Ritchie Donald the author says representatives “enjoy a highrate of reelection, partly because of the greater name recognition that comeswith holding office and partly because their parties in the state legislaturedrew the congressional boundaries to maximize the party’s strength in thedistrict.
“2.Mark Takano had initially been elected in November 2012 and recently he was re-electedfor his third term in November 2016. It is very clear that his reelection isdue to his popularity in the district and the support he gets from people. Hewas born and raised in the city of Riverside where he graduated in 1979 from LaSierra High School. He is from a Japanese- American decent and is the first gayperson of color to be elected as congressman. He earned his bachelor degree inGovernment in1983 from Harvard College and worked as a high school teacher atRialto Unified School District. From this stems the importance that he gives tothe educational system in his district. Mark Takano serves as the “Vice RankingMember of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and as a member of theEducation and Workforce Committee, and the Science, Space, and Technology.
“3 It is important toknow the background of the congressman of each city because through thisinformation the constituents can relate to their representative. Also,information about the work that the congressman is doing is of greatimportance. Throughout the years the representative’s waysof communicating with constituents to keep them informed has changed.Currently, “representatives use Web surveys and have turned their Web sitesinto electronic newsletters. They participate in town meetings on the Internet,inviting home-state residents to participate in a telephone conference callwith the lawmaker”4.Thework of a congressman is very important but the work of his staff is oftenundermined. The work that the staff does it to help constituents directly byproviding them with services pertaining to their everyday matters. In theRiverside office, where I interned there is 5 staff members which are: Districtdirector, Constituent Services Representative, Case Work Manager and OperationsDirector.
The office works either directly or indirectly with federal agencies.Some of these agencies vary since there is number of services that are providedfor constituents. For examples “thewater we drink, the cars we drive, the bicycles we pedal, the streets we walk—all are the products of government bureaucracy in action. We take it all forgranted, but we expect the highest levels of service.”5Examples of services that I had experienced assisting in the office were the utilitycompany, telephone, and cable. Thecongressman’s staff assists the complaints of constituents about citydepartments and assist them by attempting to solve their issue asintermediators. The office getscomplaints about the cities infrastructure and structure like the streets,parks, transportation, traffic, graffiti, gang problems, etc. Many times thestaff members will assist constituents by directing them to the right agency orif they don’t belong to the district they will provide them information withthe respective council member or supervisor of their city.
A lot of times theoffice staff are contacted by constituents who seek help with services likefiling their taxes, taking out studentloans, receiving their retirement benefits, unemployment issues, employercomplaints, or mortgage refinancing, etc. The office also offers assistancewith federal agencies like the Social Security/ Medicare, Veteran’sAdministration and citizenship and immigration serviceLocal Government: Localgovernment is where all the governmental decisions affect the populationdirectly. As mentioned in class by professor Loveridge, local government iswhere the action is because money is spent locally. All the services that thecongressman’s office helps with are services that were payed by the government.In the book One Nation After Trump: AGuide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-YetDeported by Dionne, Jr the authorexplains that “local governments arethe obvious first responders for reviving community. One promising strategy isto leverage public schools to help build social bonds and address neighborhoodproblems”6Meaningthat the services like education, transportation, welfare, health, environment,etc, are administered by the local government. The most important lesson that Ilearned is that the local government is most likely to help you when you havean issue because they can help you directly.
Federal government will not takethe time to answer constituent’s calls and help them with their everydayservices. Through the local government you could have your opinions heardthrough town hall meetings or just by calling and putting in your comments onIQ. As explained in the book Politics of the Administrative Process, “as wemove from the federal to the state and then to local governments, theadministrative tools are more likely to be direct: from local ambulances tolibraries, schools to criminal justice, local administration is most likely tobe direct administration”7.There are direct and indirect tools that are used by the congressman’s officeto administrate the district. The majority of these tools are direct likesocial security but also use indirect tools through the disbursing of grants.When going to the congressman’s website you are able to apply for grants. Thesegrants are meant “to encourage other levels of government to do things theymight not otherwise have done; regulating behavior to change private-sectoractions; handing out vouchers to allow citizens to purchase services fromprivate organizations; and administering loan programs to enhance the abilityof individuals and private organizations to borrow private money to pursuepublic goals”8AsRitchie Ronald emphasizes in his book representatives like Congressman MarkTakano hold themselves first and foremost to their constituents. For thisreason his office in riverside focuses a lot on providing services theirconstituents.
Four of the services that I’m most familiar with are Veteran’sAffairs, involvement with district’s schools, Immigration, and Meetings andRecognition. Veterans Affairs: Themajority of phone calls that we received in the office were from veterans orfamilies of veterans who needed help with some of their benefits. CongressmanMark Takano serves as the Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee onVeterans’ Affairs and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on EconomicOpportunity.
Indistrict 41, the Riverside County, has the 8th largest veteranpopulation in the country9.The congressman seeks to increase the access to veterans for health servicesand to give them more educational opportunities. He is able to help theveterans who call the office through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Thepurpose of the Department of Veterans Affairs is an agency that seeks torecognize the contributions veterans have made to the nation. As mentioned inthe book Politics of the AdministrativeProcess, this department “runs the nation’s single largest health andhospital care system, while BIA has its own health clinics— and each operatesindependently of other health agencies organized by function at the federal,state, and local levels.”10Another resource to help veterans is the BI Bill which Congressman Mark Takanoseeks to expand.
The book One Nation After Trump: A Guide for thePerplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported explainsthat the GI Bill is “one of the greatest investment projects in Americanhistory, millions of veterans were empowered to pursue higher education, startbusinesses, and buy their own homes.”11The G.I Bill could be good to help veterans get a higher education buteducation companies exploit their educational services. For this reasonCongressman Mark Takano has introduced the Career Ready Students Veterans Actto make sure that these educational programs meet the standard to receive theG.I Bill payouts12.Many veterans call the office constantly and apply for the benefits theyqualify for.
I was able to organize some of the casework related to this topicand send emails to the Veteran’s Affairs Department to get it approved. Educational Participation: One of the main duties of arepresentative is education. Congressman Mark Takano in particular is veryinvolved in the educational system of his district since he was a high schoolteacher at Rialto Unified School District. The reason why education andchildren are important is because they are the future constituents who aregoing to shape the future As Dionne Jr. says in his book “community schools ‘engagefamilies and communities as assets in the lives of their children and youth.’In so doing, they strengthen social bonds and invest in the future vitality oftheir communities.”13I was particularly able to help with the Congressional Arts competition whichis a “nation-widehigh school arts competition is sponsored by the Members of the U.S.
House ofRepresentatives.”14 Thepurpose of the competition is to recognize and encourage the talent of highschool students. Any student is able to apply as long as they apply to therespective district they belong to. They have a variety of options of how toexpress their art. Either through paintings, drawings, photographs, prints,collaged, etc. The winner’s piece of art then is displayed in Washington DC. Iwas able to help with this event by gathering contact information from artteachers, principals, and counselors and saving them in an excel document forHeidi to save.
All the information to how to apply for the competition is alsoin the Congressman’s website or of course constituents have the option ofcalling the office. Immigration:Theoffice is also often called for services in regards to their passport orimmigration services. District 41st like many other districts inCalifornia have a vast amount of immigrants. Many times according to the needsof the constituent, a caseworker willlook into the constituent’s needs and will direct them to which institutioncould assist them the best. The office helps with people who want to apply forpermanent residences or green card, naturalization, employment authorization,legal advice, etc.15Their website provides them with information that could be useful and also haslink that direct them to the U.
S citizenship and Immigration services. Mark Takano in particular is openly asupporter to the comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) for undocumentedimmigrants. In his website he talks about how more than 12 million immigrantsin the United States do not have a legal status. He wants highs skilledemployees and agricultural workers to have access to a citizenship since manyof these people have been living here for many years and contributing to theeconomy. The congressman is also a huge supporter of the Dream Act because hebelieves that young immigrant students should have the opportunity to have aneducation. Many of these students were brought to this country by their parentsat a very young age and were raised here.
For these students this country istheir home and they deserve an opportunity. Lastly, congressman Mark Takano isa cosponsor of the “Uniting American Families Act” which prioritizes familybased immigration and also in his website he mentions that “under current law,LGBT Americans are denied the opportunity to sponsor their permanent partnersfor residency in the United States. Many of these couples are married under thelaws of the states in which they reside, but they are treated differently thanare straight married couples.”16He wants people from the LGBT community to be treated fairly like heterosexualcouples. He understands the importance of immigrants in this country and hereflects that on the quality service that the staff provides to them. Meetings and Recognition: Congressman’s Mark Takano like othercongressmen holds events, workshops, informational meetings, and town hallsmeetings to address different types of topics and issues. As Ritchie Donaldstates in his book The U.S.
Congress: AVery Short Introduction representatives “legislative function includesholding hearings and reporting out bills, while education requires informingtheir constituents about the issues and explaining the stands they have taken.”17During the events he gives recognition to veterans, women educators, people whoare completing programs to become citizens, DACA members, etc. Even I as anintern received a recognition for the completion of my internship at hisoffice.
It is very important to recognize constituents since that is how youkeep them involved in politics and more specifically local politics. I they arebeing praised for their participation they are most likely to continue to doit. Inconclusion, my experience interning at Congressman’s Mark Takano allowed me tolearn more about local politics and the importance of it. I learned thecomplexity of the office and all the services they provide for theirconstituents which is numerous. Through the two book reviews and the book ofPolitics of Administrative Process I was able to make connections between thestaff and the direct and indirect tool that they use to administrate. Lastly,after this experienced I have learned that it takes time and experience torealize what your future career will be but I have learned through this that I ammost likely going to pursue something related to public service. 1Ritchie,Donald A.
. The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction (Very ShortIntroductions) (p. 37). Oxford University Press.
Kindle Edition. 2 Ritchie, DonaldA.. The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)(pp.
28-29). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. 3 “Biography | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano ofCalifornia’s 41st District.” About | U.S.
Congressman Mark Takano ofCalifornia’s 41st District, takano.house.gov/about/biograph4Ritchie,Donald A.. The U.
S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction (Very ShortIntroductions) (p. 39). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. 5Kettl,Donald F. (Francis).
Politics of the Administrative Process (p. 27). SAGEPublications. Kindle Edition.
6 Dionne, Jr., E.J.. One Nation After Trump: A Guide forthe Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported (pp.240-241). St.
Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition. 7 Kettl, Donald F. (Francis). Politics of theAdministrative Process (p. 34). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.
8 Kettl, Donald F. (Francis). Politics of theAdministrative Process (p. 35). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.
9″Solutionsfor Veterans | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s 41stDistrict.” Issue | Issues | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s41st District, takano.house.
gov/issues/veterans.10 Kettl, Donald F.(Francis). Politics of the Administrative Process (pp. 140-141). SAGEPublications.
Kindle Edition. 11 Dionne, Jr.,E.J.. One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, theDesperate, and the Not-Yet Deported (p. 178). St.
Martin’s Press. KindleEdition. 12″Solutions for Veterans | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s 41stDistrict.
” Issue | Issues | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s41st District, takano.house.gov/issues/veterans. 13 Dionne, Jr.
,E.J.. One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, theDesperate, and the Not-Yet Deported (p. 241). St.
Martin’s Press. KindleEdition. 14″Arts Competition | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s 41stDistrict.” Art Competition | Services | U.
S. Congressman Mark Takano ofCalifornia’s 41st District, takano.house.gov/services/art-competition. 15″Passportsand Immigration | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s 41stDistrict.
“Services | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s 41stDistrict, takano.house.gov/services/passports.16″Immigration| U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s 41st District.
” Issue |Issues | U.S. Congressman Mark Takano of California’s 41st District,takano.house.gov/issues/immigration.17Ritchie, Donald A..
The U.S. Congress: A Very ShortIntroduction (Very Short Introductions) (p.
37). Oxford University Press.Kindle Edition.