The US House of Representatives is one of the two Houses that make up the country’s legislature. It is constituted by representatives of the various districts of each state. Representatives play an important role in the political, social and international direction of the country because they, together with the members of the Senate, determine the laws to be passed. It is important, therefore, that representatives not only truly understand the needs and aspirations of the people, but also recognize the significance of the bills they pass to the nation as a whole. Two of the members of the US House of Representatives of the current Congress, i.e. the 113th Congress, are discussed in the following pages. These two represent two opposing poles: one is a freshman and the other has been in the business for more than two decades, and one is a Democrat and the other is a Republican.
US House of Representative Member No. 1: Eric Swalwell (D)
Eric Swalwell is the representative of the 15th District of California to the US House of Representatives. Swalwell was elected for his first term on November 12, 2012, as a member of the Democratic Party, to serve until 2015 in the 113th Congress. Born on November 16, 1980, Swalwell is one of the ten youngest members of the present Congress. He is also single. Swalwell was born in Sac City, Sac County in Iowa, but was raised in Dublin, California where he continues to reside up to the present. In college, he earned a Division I college athletic scholarship for his skills in soccer, which ended when he suffered an injury. In 2001 up to 2002, he served as an unpaid intern in the office of Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher for the 10th District of California. During his college days at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, Swalwell created and held the first Student Liaison position on the College Park Council. He earned his B.A. from the said college in 2003. He went on to study law and in 2006, earned his J.D. from the University of Maryland, School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland.
After graduation, Swalwell initially worked as a prosecutor and then joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office as a Deputy DA until 2012. At the same time, Swalwell was appointed to the Dublin Planning Commission and in 2010, was elected to the Dublin Council. Swalwell sponsored 9 bills and co-sponsored 248 others while in office. One of his sponsored bills, HR 3771 entitled Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act, was passed into law and became Public Law No. 113-92. He sits on two Committees, namely: House Committee of Homeland Security, and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He is also a member of three sub-committees: Energy, Transportation Security, and Oversight.
The 15th District represented by Swalwell is located at the center of East Bay and encompasses 15 communities. After the 2010 census, the district’s population increased at 732,515 from 677,605, with race demographics as follows: 36.2% White, 28.6% Asian, 23% Latino or Hispanic, 6.9% Black and, 5.3% other. Previously, demographics were: 36.6% White, 36.8% Asians, 20.7% Latino, 2.3% Black, and 3.6 % others. Redistricting made the 15th District more Republican than Democrat compared to the 2012 pre-redistricting. In 2010, the District was 71% Democrat and 29% Republican, but after redistricting the registration statistics showed a change to 65% Democrat and 35% Republican for a 21.9% change advantage.
US House of Representative Member No. 2: Dana Rohrabacher (R)
Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher is the representative of the 48th District of California to the 113th Congress. He is a Republican and has been a Member of the HR since 1989. This is his 13th term and he used to represent other California districts such as the 42nd from 1989 to 1992, 45th from 1993 to 2002, 46th from 2003 to 2013. The 48th is centered on the Orange County and embraces Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, Surfside, Aliso Viejo, and Newport Coast, among others.
Rohrabacher was born in Coronado, California on June 21, 1947, which makes him about 66 years old. He went to the Palos Los Verdes High School and graduated in 1965 and pursued college studies in the Los Angeles Harbor College between 1965 and 1967, earned his B.A. History in 1969 from the California State University and, his M.A. in American Studies in 1971 from the University of Southern California. Before joining politics, Rohrabacher worked for the Orange County as editorial writer. In 1976 and 1980, he served as assistant secretary to Reagan’s presidential campaigns and between 1981 and 1988, was Reagan’s speechwriter and special assistant in the White House.
Rohrabacher sits on 2 Committees and 4 sub-committees. He sits on the Committees on Foreign Affairs and on Science, Space and Technology. He is chairman of the sub-committee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, and member in the sub-committees on Asia and the Pacific, on Environment, and on Space. To date, he has sponsored 248 bills and co-sponsored hundreds of others. Two of his bills were passed into laws, namely the Commercial Space Transportation Competitiveness Act 2000 and the Commercial Space Amendment Act of 2004.
Rohrabacher’s 4th District has a population of 717,809. Of that figure, 57.1% is White, 21.2% Latino or Hispanic, 17.4% Asian, 1.0% Black, and 3.3% other. Prior to redistricting, the District had a population of 727,833, with the following demographics: 58 White, 19% Asian, 17.9% Latino, 1.4% Black, and 3.7% other. This means that redistricting has shaved the population a little and increased the demographics for some races while decreasing the others. Like the 15th District, redistricting has augmented the position of the Republicans from 55% in 2010, to 56% while the Democrats went down from 45% to 44%.
Dana Rohrabacher and Eric Swalwell, despite coming from the same state, seemed to be standing on the opposite side of things. Rohrabacher is a Democrat with political experience that spans more than two decades, including serving as a close assistant to a US President. Swalwell does not have that kind of rich experience. Only in his early 30s, Swalwell’s foray into politics constituted serving a one year, unpaid stint as an intern of a member of a USHR and as an elected member of the city council back in his district. Their presence in the House and their sitting together in one of the House’s important committees prove that age or experience does not determine alone one’s election into one of the most important positions in the government.
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