Congressional Representation : Richard F. Fenno Essay

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In an era where strong partisan divisiveness continues to paralyze Congress, The Challenge of Congressional Representation offers a well-formulated, insightful study of the intricate relationship between Congress and their home constituencies. It invokes nostalgia for a time before the Tea Party insurgency and the dreadful Citizens United decision – a time when Congress members put “country before party”, by listening to the people they represent rather than their echo chamber and the unlimited fiscal influences of Political Action Committees. To be sure, author Richard F. Fenno presents this noble exploration as a follow up piece to his earlier study, Home Style, and maintains focus on the micro-analysis of Congress members and their relationships with their constituents (p. 1). Indeed, The Challenge of Congressional Representation seeks to fill the chasm of Congress ' personal narratives within their home constituencies through the innovative approach of personal observation and storytelling. However, the author’s transitions between first and third person can be dizzying at times. Nevertheless, the book is enjoyable and presents the reader with a captivating cast of characters and an inside glimpse of the painstaking process of casework while juggling family, hectic travel schedules, and legislative duties. Fenno’s Method With this in mind, Fenno embarks on a quest for pragmatic knowledge by examining five members of Congress who possess varying party affiliations,

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