Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Holy Congressional Infographic, Batman!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 3:52 PM

North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman’s first term in office has been no cakewalk. In fact, it’s involved a lot of elbow grease and heavy lifting. Don’t’ believe it? Well, check out this handy infographic The Huff put together to show you just how much he’s accomplished over the past two years.

click to enlarge image003.jpg

See? He’s sent 92,709 letters and emails responding to constituents. That’s about 128 a day! Not impressed? Well, consider that he’s spoken to some 6,631 constituents on the phone, an average of nine a day, every day of his two-year term (that includes TWO Christmases!). Almost 4,400 of his constituents have toured the White House and the Capitol Building (six a day!), and he’s helped 2,889 of them close casework, solving real life problems that they needed a little government help navigating. And, somehow, he even found time to author three bills that were ultimately signed into law (not including another to stiffen penalties on trespass pot growers that the federal sentencing commission then took up on its own), and cosponsored almost 500 more.

The graphic — which doesn’t even bother to mention Huffman was slowed for part of his term by an unfortunate baseball accident — even notes the congressman found some time between Capitol tours and constituent emails to sit down for an interview with Stephen Colbert.

Wait a minute. He can’t have this much time, can he? Is he some kind of shape-shifting, super congressman that can slow time by flying around the planet?

Unfortunately, no, he’s not. Huff spokesman Paul Arden informs us that the numbers used in the infographic represent the work of Huffman’s entire 19-person staff. That's like, what, a half a constituent phone call per-staffer, per-day? Sigh. Who wants to bet Huffman didn’t even push a pixel on the graphic itself?

Kidding aside, it’s worth noting that Huffman has just put the bow on a pretty solid freshman term. Stephanie Burkhalter, a professor of politics at Humboldt State University whose research focuses on Congress, said Huffman’s first term in office has been an impressive one. She pointed not only to his three bills that ultimately garnered the president’s signature, but also a February 2014 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him directly to work to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. The letter was signed by a diverse group of lawmakers, Burkhalter said, and spoke to Huffman’s willingness to seek out partners and take bold stances.

He also pushed forward with the plans for dam removal on the Klamath, and took up the task of badgering the Department of the Interior into recognizing Humboldt County's rights to 50,000 acre feet of water from Trinity Lake.

All in all, for a freshman representative from a small, mostly rural district, the Huff has held his own with an agenda his constituents can get behind, Burkhalter said.

Now, think how much he could get done if he could only master that shapeshifting thing.
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