Beyond Roll Call Votes: Latino Representation In The 108Th110Th Sessions Of The U.S. House Of Representatives
This dissertation answers the following research question: Do Latino members of Congress represent Latinos better than non-Latino representatives? To evaluate this question, I employ a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. I utilize a broad view of representation that includes legislative actions beyond the conventional focus on roll call voting, such as bill introduction and bill co-sponsorship, to examine member activity during the 108th- 110th sessions of the House of Representatives. The statistical analysis finds that Latino members are considerably more active in representing Latino interests than non-Latino members irrespective of the size of the Latino constituency. This finding indicates that Latino legislators as a whole act differently than non-Latino members, which has serious implications for the substantive representation of Latinos. The qualitative components of the dissertation consist of interviews with staff members of Latino legislators and case studies of representatives. Together they probe deeper into the meaning of representation and investigate variation in representation styles between members and within the Latino sub-group. The project argues that Latinos need descriptive representation to achieve the greatest substantive representation and investigations of representation should move beyond roll call votes to include other forms of legislative participation.
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