June 29, 2009

I am not Represented

  The Founders believed that it was essential to not allow high pay or fancy perks to the job of being a Representative or Senator  so as to discourage careerist politicians.  They believed to do so spelled our ruination.  The job is so cushy now that they lie, cheat, steal, and probably kill to stay, some never have a real job; most I would say. Never underestimate what a politician will do to try to help their re-election campaign.  That is the first thing they think of when they are elected and the last thing they think about before voting. Not only that, but D.C. insulates these goons from their constituents. 

Missouri, is not notable in many people’s minds for very many things other than Mules and Stubborness. Congressman Willard Vandiver,  declared that "I come from a country that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, and you have got to Show Me."

But, Missouri is probably the state that is most representative of the US as a whole in many ways. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Missouri's Per capita personal income in 2006 was $32,705, ranking 26th in the nation. This puts Missouri right in the middle of the nation as far as income.  Part of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state in August 10, 1821. Again right in the middle of the nation. The state's population density 81.2 in 2000, is also closer to the national average (79.6 in 2000) than any other state. Missouri is also very much in line with other US demographics; Missouri closely mirrors US averages in age distribution and gender distribution.  In fact, the Mean Population Center of the United States has been in Missouri for at least twenty years, in 2000 it was located 2.8 miles east of Edgar Springs, Phelps County, Missouri. The actual Geographical center of the contiguous 48 states is within 400 miles of where I live. Missouri is widely regarded as a state bellwether in American politics. The state has a longer stretch of supporting the winning presidential candidate than any other state, having voted with the nation in every election since 1904 with two exceptions: in 1956 when they voted for Stevenson  over the winner, incumbent President Eisenhower, and in 2008 when they voted for McCain  over winner Obama , both by extremely narrow margins.

But Missouri’s population is, I am learning, very hard to classify.  I would consider most of the state as Rural.  I have been to all four corners and throughout the middle.  Kansas City, Missouri's largest metro area is nothing like the size of Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, LA, Houston, Denver, Chicago, etc. Kansas City is not even in the top 25 by size of US cities, St. Louis does not make the top 50. The Census Bureau has a strange definition of rural vs. urban.  By its’ definition I live in an Urban area.  I admit I live ten miles from Joplin and seven miles from Carthage, and only sixty-some miles from Springfield (the third largest city) but I am on a well for my water and have a septic tank, cannot get Cable or DSL internet, am outside of city police protection (which I am actually thankful for), and I have the last house in a city fire protection district, my neighbor is covered by a volunteer department. Missouri is ranked 6th in the nation for the production of hogs and 7th for cattle. Missouri is ranked in the top five states in the nation for production of soy beans. As of 2001, there were 108,000 farms, the second largest number in any state after Texas.   So how Urban does my area or my State sound to you?  Where I grew up was far, far more Rural than where I now live. Average home prices for either area (where I am or where I grew up) are less than $100,000.  For more info on this click here: http://mcdc2.missouri.edu/TenThings/urbanrural.shtml

Another thing is that Missouri straddles the ole North/South question; residents of cities farther north and of the state's large metropolitan areas, where half of the state's population resides (Kansas City, St. Louis, and Columbia), typically consider themselves Midwestern (Northern). In rural areas and cities farther south, such as (Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, and Sikeston), residents typically self-identify as more Southern.

So my point is, I don’t think I am represented at all.  How can Claire McCaskill represent me, much less people who are even more rural than I am; in a state where the average population of the 200 LARGEST cities and towns of averages very near to 15,000 people when she lives in a city?   Her web site admits that she basically lives in Washington D.C. and returns home to St. Louis on the weekends. She was born in Rolla (Midwestern mindset) Raised in Columbia (nexus for liberalism in MO) “Claire attended Hickman High School in Columbia, while her father served as a state insurance commissioner and her mother became Columbia's first woman city council member.”  Does that sound like just plain Joe Six-pack to you? She then moved to KC (Mo’s largest city) and then moved to St. Louis (MO’s second largest).  

Kit Bond (who is a decent weasel, but retiring soon) is the current senior United States Senator from Missouri. He has been in the Senate since 1987.  Bond was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His father was …a Rhodes Scholar. His maternal grandfather, founded A.P. Green Industries, a fireclay manufacturer and a major employer for many years in Bond's hometown Mexico, Missouri (Which admittedly Mexico is not a huge town). Kit Bond graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1956, Princeton University in 1960, and the University of Virginia School of Law in 1963. From 1963 to 1964, Bond served as a law clerk to the Honorable Elbert Tuttle, then Chief Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1964 to 1967, Bond practiced law at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.

I could go on about Bond, and he is not nearly as bad as some of the weasels, but it just goes to my point, is he one of the “regular” people?

AHH but you say to me, “I have read your other posts, and senators are supposed to represent the State not the people.” I answer,  1) not since the travesty that is the 17th amendment, and 2) good for you, look at the Representatives of my state.


By District:

1,2 and 3 are all St. Louis Metro (different from St. Louis City) , 4 is more rural in a way but includes Jefferson City, the capital, 5 is all Kansas City, 6 is Rural, 7 is rural but contains the third largest city and 4th largest metro area as well as the oddity that is Branson, 8 is Ru-RAL, and 9 is Rural but with the Liberal Mecca of Columbia.

1. William Lacy Clay, Jr.,  Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 2000 for Missouri's 1st congressional district (map). The district includes the northern two-thirds of St. Louis, as well as most of St. Louis County. Clay Jr., was born in St. Louis, but his family moved to Washington D.C., when his father, Bill Clay, was elected to Congress. In his teenage years, Clay Jr. attended Silver Spring, Maryland, public schools. He then attended the University of Maryland, College Park, from which he earned a degree in political science and certification to be a paralegal. He entered the Missouri House of Representatives in 1983, the same year that he graduated. While serving, he studied at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government but did not obtain a degree. In 1991 he was elected to the Missouri State Senate. blah blah blah…you get the drift he is a northerner living in D.C. claiming to live in St. Louis. and representing people who have a basically urban Chicagoan political mindset in a state which has a clear division between north and south politically.

2. W. Todd Akin- R, has been a  member of the House of Representatives since 2001, representing Missouri's 2nd congressional district (map).  Born in New York City, Akin later moved to St. Louis, and attended John Burroughs School. After graduating, he attended the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Worcester, Massachusetts,  in 1984, he earned a Master of Divinity degree at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. From 1972 to 1980, he served in the Missouri National Guard.  After his military career, he took up work at IBM as an engineer, and he later became a manager at Laclede Steel. Akin was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives representing western St. Louis County in 1988. He was re-elected five times. Akin lives in Town and Country, a wealthy suburb west of St. Louis. However, he is listed on the House roll as "R-St. Louis." This may be because many areas of the St. Louis County portion of the district (including one of his district offices) have St. Louis addresses even though the district does not include any portion of St. Louis itself. Again, carpet bagging northerner masquerading as a Missourian, and representing wealthy people in a city resembling Chicago politically more than the rest of the state. At least he did work for a living for a while.

3. "Russ" Carnahan  is a Democrat elected to the House of Representatives in November 2004 to represent Missouri's 3rd congressional district (map). The district includes the southern third of St. Louis and most of that city's southern suburbs. He was born in Columbia, Missouri and raised in Rolla, Missouri, Carnahan is the son of the late Mel Carnahan, a former Missouri governor and posthumously a U.S. Senator-elect, and Jean Carnahan, a former U.S. Senator. His sister, Robin Carnahan was elected as Missouri Secretary of State in 2004; Russ Carnahan received a bachelor's degree and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Missouri–Columbia. He worked as a private practice attorney prior to entering politics. Carnahan is a member of the New Democrat Coalition.  Note that St. Louis' strong Democratic tilt (a Republican has not represented this district or its predecessors since 1949) helped Carnahan win with 53 percent of the vote. The district reverted to form in 2006, and Carnahan was easily reelected with 65% of the vote. I am Not saying he is a bad guy, I honestly do not know, but he is from a political family, Politics is the family business as you can plainly see and he has never really held a private sector job. Again St. Louis has three representatives basically.

4. "Ike" Skelton IV (born December 20, 1931) has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 1977 (!!). A Democrat, he represents Missouri's 4th congressional district. The district includes most of the west-central part of the state, including the state capital, Jefferson City. Skelton is currently the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, being selected at the start of the 110th Congress. He had previously served as the highest ranking Democrat on the Committee since 1998. Skelton was born in Lexington, Missouri, where he still lives today. In 1928, Skelton's father met Harry Truman, then a Jackson County judge, and the two became good friends. Skelton attended Truman’s 1949 inauguration, when Skelton was 17.[1] He received an A.A. from Wentworth Military and Junior College in 1951. He received an A.B. from the University of Missouri–Columbia in 1953 … He attended the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1953. He received an LL.B. from Missouri–Columbia in 1956. He became a lawyer, working in private practice in Lafayette County, Missouri.

Ike is a Democrat, but he is a Social Conservative, and even somewhat of a Fiscal conservative but he has been in office since Carter was president.  He knew Harry Truman. He has been in politics all his life.  He does at least have street cred in the fact he is a down home Missouri Boy. But it goes to my point…it is a lifelong profession, and something the founders were dead set against.

5. Emanuel Cleaver is a United Methodist pastor and a Democratic politician from the state of Missouri. He was elected in November 2004 to represent Missouri's 5th congressional district (map), which primarily consists of the Kansas City-Jackson County metro area. Cleaver took his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives at the start of the 109th Congress on January 4, 2005. Born in Waxahachie, Texas, Cleaver grew up in public housing in Wichita Falls, Texas. He graduated from Prairie View A&M University Cleaver then moved to Kansas City, where he  received a Master of Divinity degree from St. Paul School of Theology. Cleaver served as city councilman in Kansas City from 1979 to 1991, and was the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, from 1991 until 1999. He was the first African American mayor of that city. The 5th district has long been a very safe Democratic district. The district was redrawn in 2002, adding more conservative suburban and rural voters in northwest Cass and southeast Jackson Counties. Overall, Democrats still hold a significant advantage in the district.

I cannot say much, he is not a native to Missouri, but he was born in Texas, grew up poor, and has lived in Missouri his whole life, he is a man of some principle, although I cannot agree with him politically, but he did not support Obama and stuck to his guns despite huge pressures on him due to his race.  Conversely, he is a career politician and represents the largest segment of what could be considered Urban dwellers in the state by my definition of the word.

6. Samuel B. Graves, Jr.  is a Republican , currently representing Missouri's 6th congressional district in the House of Representatives, a post he has held since 2001. The district, located in the northwestern portion of the state, includes the portion of Kansas City north of the Missouri River as well as St. Joseph. He is currently the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Small Business.  Graves is a lifelong resident of Tarkio, a small city not far from the Iowa and Nebraska borders. He graduated from the University of Missouri. He is a former volunteer fireman and is also a sixth-generation farmer. Graves was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1992. After only one term, he was elected to the Missouri State Senate in 1994.

In 2000,  Graves faced former Congresswoman Danner's son, Steve Danner, in the general election. Graves referred to Danner as a "tax and spend Liberal" and won the race with 51% of the vote largely by running up huge margins in the rural areas of the district. He was arguably helped by George W. Bush carrying the district. Following the economic crisis of Wall Street in September 2008, Graves voted against the Proposed bailout of United States financial system saying it neither "punished the wrongdoers nor adequately protected the innocent taxpayers, investors and retirees” caught in the Wall Street banking crisis."

Hmm…a good weasel apparently.  Let’s see how long it takes for careerism and D.C. corruption to turn him into a typical Washington bloodsucker.

7. Roy D. Blunt Republican, representing Missouri's 7th congressional district in the House of Representatives. Blunt's son Matt Blunt is the former governor of Missouri.On February 19, 2009, Blunt announced he would run for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Senator Kit Bond in 2010. Since he was first elected in 1996, Blunt has been reelected five times without significant opposition. In the 2004 House election, he received 70.4 percent of the vote.[8] Blunt's political action committee is the Rely on Your Beliefs Fund.

His whole family is in politics, and although not a really awful politician, he has been around a long long time. As I said, politics IS the family business and he has been accused of a lot of cronyism and favoritism too.  I could be represented by worse but I think I could be represented by better as well.

8. Jo Ann Emerson is currently serving her seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives. She represents Missouri's 8th congressional district (map) which consists of Southeast and South Central Missouri and includes the Missouri part of the Cape GirardeauJackson, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area, the Bootheel, the Lead Belt and the Ozarks. The largest cities in the district are Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Sikeston, Poplar Bluff, Farmington, Rolla, Kennett, and West Plains. Emerson is a member of the Republican Party. Emerson was born in Bethesda, Maryland and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University. She married then-lobbyist and future U.S. Representative Bill Emerson (R-Cape Girardeau) on June 22, 1975. He was 12 years her senior. They had two daughters; Jo Ann also has five stepdaughters and a stepson. Bill was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1980 from Missouri's 10th Congressional District and, subsequent to redistricting, was reelected in 1982 from the 8th District. He handily retained his seat through 1994, his final election, before succumbing to cancer on June 22, 1996. The Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, which links Missouri to Illinois across the Mississippi River, was dedicated to commemorate his efforts to obtain federal funding for its construction.

I have posted on Jo-Ann before, and she is the representative of my old home district. She is not a Missouri native, but her husband was a near legend over there.  Jo Ann does a pretty good job; but it does still support the point. The ONLY reason she got elected was because of her husband.  She has stood on her own merits since then, but it was the name that put her there.

and Finally…

9. Blaine Luetkemeyer  is the Republican Representative for Missouri's 9th congressional district (map).  Missouri's 9th congressional district encompasses rural Northeast Missouri, the area known as "Little Dixie," due to the migrant farming aspect of the region. It is the “rest of the northeast” after the three districs in St. Louis. He was born in Jefferson City, Missouri and attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in political science, with a minor in business administration. A lifelong farmer who is the fourth generation of his family to own their farm, Luetkemeyer has also owned several small businesses, as well as running a bank and serving as an insurance agent. He also served on the Board of Trustees for the village of St. Elizabeth, Missouri, his current home. During his time in the state legislature, Luetkemeyer co-sponsored the statewide constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. He also worked on legislation which allowed Missourians to carry concealed firearms, banning partial-birth abortions, and reforming worker compensation laws.

Luetkemeyer is apparently the real deal, I do not know much about him but as you can see from the above 9 backgrounds out of the 9 districts we have 3 solid rural folks, and one that I have to give a nod to.  The rest are city folks and most are from up North.

Check out your states, I am sure it is similar.  These people grow up wanting to be in politics and after college they look for areas “ripe for the picking”.   We are not growing our politicians and choosing them; they choose us and we vote for them…again and again and again…

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