Sunday, March 25, 2012

What do you mean I actually have to live here?

Adjective: Typical of a class, group, or body of opinion.
Noun: A person chosen or appointed to act or speak for another or others, in particular.  Specifically regarding the US House of Representatives, each representative must: (1) be at least twenty-five years old; (2) have been a citizen of the United States for the past seven years; and (3) be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they represent.

One would hope that an actual Representative would be aware of such requirements.  But, it seems to be a surprise to Representative Chip Cravaack, resident of New Hampshire, who is supposed to be the Representative of Minnesota's 8th District.  While it is not required that a Representative live within the district which they are supposedly representing (see, Michele Bachmann), they do, in fact, have to inhabit their state.  Not just own a house there.

While we should recognize that a Representative might have a need to spend a significant amount of time in Washington, D.C., or on travel to other states and countries, it is expected that they have some sort of stake (other than political) in the state they supposedly represent.

Such stake could be, for example, where they and their family live.  Where their spouse works.  Or where their children go to school.

A stake may be supplemented by being your "home state" (where you were born), your alma mater state (where you got your higher education degree), or a state where you might have a (real) job.  Though, these things are merely secondary.

Chip Cravaack has none of these things.

Chip was born in West Virginia, which is not Minnesota.  Chip graduated high school in Cincinnati, which is not located in Minnesota.  Chip graduated from the United States Naval Academy (in Maryland) University of West Florida, which is, oddly enough, in Florida.

Chip did work as a pilot at Northwest Airlines, which was headquartered in Minnesota, but now is nonexistent.  He then lived (off of a medical disability pension for sleep apnea, as well as the teat of the taxpayers taking unemployment for a time) in Cambridge, MN.

Now, he lives in New Hampshire, where his wife and children live.  While he did live in Minnesota for over 20 years, he no longer has a stake in the state. (Note: it's about freaking time this got "lamestream" coverage)

He recognizes that his move put a "five mile target on [his] back," but he seems to think that if he raises enough money, it's ok that he doesn't actually fulfill the requirements of being a Representative in the state of Minnesota.

Considering that he ran, and won, on the basis that the previous incumbent (Jim Oberstar) had supposedly "lost touch" with the people he represented, it is ironic that Cravaack thinks he can do better in an altogether different state.

Chip, feel free to get some talk-show motivation near your new home.  Walk into another politician's office and demand that they see you.  Get off on some self-righteousness, and hijack a seat there, if you wish.  But, do yourself a favor and quit pretending you're representing Minnesota.  I'd say you're making yourself look like an ass, but that would be an insult to long-eared equids, and you don't even represent them, either.

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