Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Who’s your Daddy, er, Representative?

In these days of political upheaval, or quasi-political upheaval, or political quasi-upheaval, or whatever you want to call it (unrest, uneasiness, life as usual in America come to mind), I think the least we can do as citizens is know who represents us in Washington, D.C.

Here are the current Congressional District boundaries in Georgia, the state where I live:

Mrs. RWP and I moved from Florida to Marietta, Georgia, in 1975. Our first representative here was Larry McDonald. A physician, Larry had the distinction of being the only sitting member of Congress killed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He was a passenger on Korean Air Lines flight 007 when it was shot down over the Sea of Japan in 1983. At the time, he also happened to be the national president of the John Birch Society. A stretch of several miles of Interstate Highway 75 in Cobb County has been named after him. Because of his very conservative political views, I have always thought that it should have been only the far right lane.

Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was also our representative for a few years. Newt taught history at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton for several years before he was elected to Congress. You might gather, and you would be correct, that this is a very, very conservative area of the country.

We also were represented for a while by Bob Barr, who was the candidate of the Libertarian Party for U.S. President in 2008. A former CIA agent and federal district attorney, Bob is best known for his role during the Clinton impeachment trial. According to Wikipedia, it was Barr, then a Republican, who first introduced a resolution directing the House Judiciary Committee to inquire into impeachment proceedings, months before the Monica Lewinsky scandal came to light. Foremost among Barr’s concerns was apparent obstruction of Justice Department investigations into Clinton campaign fundraising from foreign sources, chiefly the People’s Republic of China. After the Lewinsky scandal came to light, Barr was the first lawmaker in either chamber to call for Clinton’s resignation. We do not lack for colorful characters in our part of the country.

A few years ago we moved into the 6th Congressional District of Georgia. Our representative at first was Johnny Isakson, who with the help of his father owned Northside Realty in Atlanta and without the help of his father taught Sunday School at Mt. Zion Methodist Church in Marietta. Johnny is currently one of Georgia’s two United States Senators. The other one is Saxby Chambliss, who lives way down in south Georgia in the town of Moultrie.

The sixth district is now represented by Tom Price, a physician in Roswell. If Interstate Highway 75 ran through Tom’s district, he would probably be slated to get the lane next to Larry McDonald’s. Currently holding the seat formerly held by Larry McDonald is Phil Gingrey, also a physician and also very conservative. Lawyers around here, liberal or otherwise, don’t seem to stand much of a chance in politics. This could be a good thing.

Because representatives to Congress are supposed to represent roughly the same number of persons, every state’s legislature redraws the Congressional District boundaries every ten years following our national census to reflect the population distribution more accurately. On the map above, the size of a district is inversely proportional to the density of its population. That is, the smaller the geographic area covered by the district, the closer together the people in it live. You can tell by the map that we live very close to our neighbors.

Our neighbor, the 5th District, has been represented by John Lewis for many years. John marched with Dr. Martin Luther King at Selma back in the sixties. As you might imagine, John is not so conservative. Another of our neighbors, the 4th District, has had a variety of interesting characters representing it over the years, including Ben Jones, an actor who had played Cooter on The Dukes of Hazzard; Pat Swindoll, who later spent time in federal prison for accepting bribes; Elliott Levitas, who actually was a lawyer but did not, to my knowledge, spend any time in federal prison; and Cynthia McKinney, who is not so conservative either. She introduced articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She also found herself in the national spotlight in 2006 when she was involved in a confrontation with a Capitol Hill Police officer who did not recognize her as a member of Congress. She left the Democratic Party in September 2007 and was the candidate of the Green Party for U.S. President in 2008.

When you live in Georgia, there is never a dull moment. It’s not all mint juleps, moonlight, and magnolias.

It’s 11 p.m. -- do you know who your representative is?


  1. Yes. Vic Snyder, Democrat, Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District.

  2. Yep. He's a Doctor but not at all conservative.

  3. RWP.

    Great post. Thanks for the "right" lane comment. Made my day. Georgia does not lack for colorful characters in the House...that may be good or bad but it is.

    Thanks, enjoyed it!

    Oh, my current Representative is Brian Bilbray who would be a candidate for the next lane your Interstate, but has the right one here on I-5 North. He is a nearly life long resident of Alexandria Virginia who has an aged Mother here for whom, he claims, he is the primary caregiver. He comes here about every two years to get reelected.