Do We Have Enough Representatives in Congress?

By Max Resnik

December 22, 2010 Updated Dec 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - There are 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives representing more than 300 million people. In 1920 that number became a legislatively passed limit when the population was little more than 100 million. The question becomes, do voters need to re-examine proportionality?

According to Andy Downs at the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, this is an issue that is generally raised every 10 years with the arrival of the census. It is a question today that seems to have an obvious answer: No.

The broad majority of the American public doesn’t believe Congress can get the job done the way things sit now. The idea of adding more bodies in Washington would more than likely not fly with the American public.

There is reason though to ask if the American people are properly represented.

Take the Hoosier State for example. There are about 6.5 million people living in Indiana. Take that number and divide that by nine Congressmen and that’s about 700 thousand Hoosiers per district being represented by a single Congressman.

The party in power has the right to re-draw districts in the state. They do so to ensure that they will retain power with the next election. Even with the resounding victory by Republicans in the 2010 Midterm Election, expect Republicans to examine each district carefully. Six of the nine House members are Republicans and with a majority this strong, expect to see some changes. You could be voting in a different district in 2012.

For any party in power it's advantageous for them re-work districts in their favor. It puts them in prime position. Dr. Mike Wolf with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics says Indiana Republicans should still be carefully. Most notably there are four freshmen Congressman who will begin terms in Washington D.C.: Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R) 3rd District, Todd Rokita (R) 4th District, Larry Bucshon (R) 8th District and Todd Young (R) 9th District. Changing the districts of these Congressmen as soon as they take office could change their prospects for future re-election.

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