Communicating Effectively

Communicating Effectively

Some people contend that smaller constituencies might allow a wider array of people to participate in state politics, rather than just the “rich” or “well born.” How would you argue in favor of or against this statement? (chapter 3: The structure and the size of the Texas Legislature)

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(2 paragraphs)

State      2010 Population        House         Senate
California      37,253,956        465,674         931,349
Texas      25,145,561        167,637         811,147
New York      19,378,102        129,187        307,589
Florida      18,801,310        156,678       470,033
Illinois      12,830,632        108,734        217,468

Taking Personal Responsibility

(1)Each Texas citizen has one Texas State House member and one Texas State Senate member to represent him or her. Use this website to find your representatives: The “Who Represents Me” section allows you to put in your address and locate your state house and senate members. Name your state house and senate representatives, their party affiliation, their gender etc… and your district numbers. How representative is the legislature of the people of Texas? In what ways can representation be defined? What reforms would make the legislature more representative?  (chapter three: Qualifications and Demographics)

(2 paragraphs)

Demographics House      Senate
Male 121      23
Female 29      8
Age: under 30 0      0
Age: 30 to 39 26      0
Age: 40 to 49 48      6
Age: 50 to 59 35     11
Age: 60 to 69 30      9
Age: 70+ 10     5
Incumbents (and previously elected) 124     28
Freshmen 22     3
Democrat 55     11
Republican 95     20

(2) Many people believe that the success of legislation largely depends on a relatively few individuals who make up the leadership in the Texas House and Senate. Do you think the speaker of the house and the lieutenant governor have too much, too little, or the right amount of control over the passage of bills? How can you influence legislation? What can individuals do to affect legislation?(chapter three: Leadership positions in the Texas Legislature)

(3 Paragraphs)


Being Socially Responsible

To what extent should legislators use race when redistricting? Do you think redistricting is a proper tool to provide representation to minority or undeserved populations? Why or why not? (chapter three: Reapportionment and Redistricting)

(3 paragraphs)


Thinking Critically

Critical thinking.pdf   Critical thinking.pdf – Alternative Formats

 (Right click on the link.)

A large section of this chapter deals with the drawing and redrawing of legislative districts. It is easy for students to accept as fact that the process is used for political gain without understanding how it works. Explore the concepts of “stacking,” “packing,” and “cracking,” and discuss the effect of differences in voter turnout among demographic groups.

Both demographics and voting patterns have changed in Texas, and some districts have become more competitive, especially for Democrats in South Texas and in inner-city districts. Discuss what these shifts mean for future elections and the composition of the Texas House and Senate. Reference Table 3.5 in your answer. 

(3 paragraphs)

Body       Safe Democratic Safe            Republican Competitive        Unopposed
House 27 (18%) 50 (33.4%) 26 (17.3%)        47 (31.3%)
Senate 2 (13.3%) 7 (46.7%) 5 (33.3%)        1 (5=6.7%)


Please create a separate document for this activity:

Using the links below, examine your political values ( Explain your results), what do they say about you? and compare them to the expressed values of both parties.  Do your ideas about the role of government, politics, and policy align with one particular party?

(3 paragraphs). 

Your Platform, and Party Politics: (you must take both surveys!)

Know yourself.  Take these surveys to find your political leanings:

  1. party quiz)
  2. (Ideology quiz)
  3. Submit screen shots of your results (both surveys).


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