About Your Representatives

Your elected officials are one of the main pipelines to change within your community. They are usually the first stop in the community for industries and investors. Many places have different political structures, but for the most part they consist of the following:

Federal

President

The Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces and Head of State. They president is also the executive branch of the US government. Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress. This person represents the entire country and signs legislation into law. They currently serve four-year terms.


Vice President

An official of the legislative branch of government. The Constitution allows Vice President’s to chair over The Senate and have a vote in case of a tie. They also partake in policy meetings, serve as a member of the National Security Council and have many special assignments. They currently serve four-year terms.


U.S. Attorney General

Under the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution, the US attorney general is an appointed power of the president of the United States and appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate. They give advice and opinions, formal and informal, on legal matters to the president, the cabinet and heads of the executive departments of government.

Senators

A smaller group of elected officials that represents a states on a federal level. Each state picks two senators to represent them. U.S. senators are usually elected to six-year terms. The Senate has the sole power to conduct impeachment trials, essentially serving as jury and judge. They have the power to review, approve or reject presidential appointees to executive and judicial branch posts. The Constitution gives the Senate the power to approve, by a two-thirds vote, treaties made by the executive branch and also the power to filibuster, a.k.a. delay or block, legislation. Lastly, the US Senate uses its power to investigate to restrain government, and, in some instances educate the public.

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
a.k.a. U.S. congress

Known as The House of Representatives. They are known to be the “for the people”. There are 435 congressional seats in the U.S. Each district elects a congressmember for a two-year term. Congressional seats strongly lean on the census data to determine seats needed within communities. Congressional members have the power to pass legislation, elect the president in the case of an electoral college tie, and, under the Constitution, impeach a government official, serving as prosecutor.*

*additional resources and articles.

Branches of Government. (2017). In USA.gov. - Retrieved from here  

State

Governor

The Executive head of a State in the U.S. and the highest-ranking representative in the State. A Governor's powers and responsibilities differ across states and depend on the policies within that state. Their responsibilities include: signing bills into law, convening sessions for the state legislature, rendering “State of the State” addresses to constituents, in some instances granting pardons to prisoners (in some instances), and appointing people to various judicial and state offices. Some states have term limits (four years) on the governorship, others do not have limits.

Attorney General

Serve as the top legal officer of a state. They advise and represent their legislature and state agencies and act as the “People’s Lawyer”. The attorney general is elected by the people in the majority of states. In others, governors appoint them, they can be selected by secret ballot of the legislature, or they can be selected by the state supreme court.

Comptroller, Treasurer & Auditor

The comptroller impacts revenue estimating, tax collections, accountancy and treasury. The persons safeguards the public's interests concerning government bodies. While the comptroller handles the accounting, in some states, the treasurer oversees the finance department. They work together to manage funds. Either the treasurer or auditor manages the invested and incoming funds. They are appointed or elected depending on the state.

State Senate

Serve as a member of a state's senate and
the upper house in the two branches of state government. State senators represent a particular district on a state level and either have two-year terms or four-year terms depending on the state. After being elected by voters, state senators create, debate, and vote on legislation that either makes new laws or amends existing ones.

State Assembly

They are a larger body of representatives who represent smaller districts on a state level. In many instances, legislation is first introduced here. Officials carry term lengths varying state to state, beginning at two years. Like the state senate, the state legislature is responsible for creating, debating and voting on legislation.

Local

Mayor (or County Executive/Manager/Supervisor)

This is a citywide representative and they pass order and legislation that impacts the entire city. Their responsibilities vary from cities but their main powers are over the local power structure including: housing, education, police and fire departments. Mayoral terms vary.

City Council

Representative a particular district on a city level. Depending on the city's charter, they may perform the following functions: review and approve the city annual budget, establish policy priorities, oversee the performance of local public employees and agencies, oversee effectiveness of public programs, and may enter into legal contracts. Their term lengths cary by city.

District Attorney (DA)
A.K.A Commonwealth Attorney

District attorneys have a powerful role in the criminal justice system: pursuing justice and resolving crime. They serve on many levels of government. DA’s have the power to prosecute and determine which charges are filed. Depending upon the system in place within a city, district attorneys are either appointed or elected by local voters.*

OTHEr ELECTED POSITIONS
WITH SIMILAR RESPONSIBILITIES

County, Executive, or Public Service Commissioner: A position held in all states. The duties vary across states but generally involve regulating essential utility services such as energy, telecommunications, and water. Some states elect this position and others appoint for this position.

Elected judges*

Certain state and City Judgeships are elected through either partisan or nonpartisan elections by the people, candidates are either listed on the ballot alongside a label designating political party affiliation or listed without a party affiliation.

to Find your local, state and national representatives Click HERE  

*additional resources and articles.Legislative Process. (2013). In Housegov. - Retrieved from here  

Hold Your Reps Accountable

Elected officials respond to the needs of their constituents (that means you). Ensuring that they are making decisions on your behalf means holding them accountable.

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Understanding The Legislative Process

Understand the step by step process of how bills become law.

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