Atul Sonthalia SWA#1

STATE CHOSEN- NORTH CAROLINA
Governor – Roy Cooper
Secretary of State – Elaine Marshall
Speaker of The House – Timothy. K. Moore
The speaker of the house is from the republican party, while the Governor and the Secretary of state are from the Democratic party. The state is under divided government. In the house of representatives, North Carolina’s legislation is controlled by the republican party. It has a total of 120 members. 55 of these members are democrats and 65 are republicans. The state government is therefore divided in North Carolina. Since the governor is Democratic and most of the party Republican, there is a consistent state of conflict between his authority and the legislation therefore resulting in vetoes and multiple lawsuits thereby slowing down the legislation. The marginal difference between the two parties is just 10 members, furthermore the Governor is from the democratic party therefore it is safe to conclude that the republican party are not very likely to achieve all their legislative goals.
An analysis of the news from the close watchers of the government at North Carolina, more specifically from “The Charolette Observer” indicates that there are multiple issues regarding race discrimination in education institutions. There is a case against the University of North Carolina whereby there are under investigation due to the suspicion that the University is biased against black students. One of the goals of the state legislation could potentially be to curb or eradicate this bias if present. Additionally, there was found to be a glitch in NC Public school systems whereby there are errors in grading. Since there are so many issues regarding education one of the legislation’s main focus should be in improving the education systems and making them more just toward all students irrespective of race, gender, colour etc.
Another one of the legislations goals is the recovery of the state after the destruction caused by the hurricane Florence. The large-scale destruction requires the legislation to shift gears and focus on repairs to the state because repairs to infrastructure and buildings require a great deal of time and resources. Lastly, the Mecklenburg park in the Carolinas is ranked last nationally. The increasing population requires more green space, the local government is required to increase funding toward the development of this park to keep up with the increasing population.
Part 2 –
OHIO
State Senate Representative – Kristina Daley Roegner, Republican
State House Representative – Scott Wiggam
Jobs- the Senate representative Kristina Daley wants government involvement in the creation of jobs. She says that the government can create an attractive climate for businesses by changing the tax climate, regulatory environment, labour laws and workforce development. The state house Representative Scott Wiggam on the other hand wants the government to be uninvolved with the job market. He believes that the American dream is still achievable, and that government interference would only threaten the dream.
Taxation- Scott wants to decrease the tax burden in the economy by attempting to lower taxes. This is aimed toward the goal to attain a better economy and create jobs. He believes that tax cuts would increase the job opportunities and boost the economy. Kristina has a similar agenda with regards to taxation. She believes that money is better off in the pockets of the people who earned it rather than with the bureaucrats.
Both the representatives are pro-life and against abortions. Kristina does not have a specific agenda for gun control, Scott supports the second amendment and says that it is a god given right.
I believe that both the representatives miss a lot of points when making their agenda. For example, it is not sufficient to just cut taxes. The impact of taxation is greater on the lower income individuals than on the higher income individuals. They should support a fair taxation policy whereby citizens are taxed based on their revenue. Just simple tax reductions for everyone is not enough. While it will allow the citizens to have more disposable income, the government will have less income to support the lower sectors of the economy. I do not agree with the pro-life ideology either. I believe that the woman should have a choice in the matter. The individuals involved have to have the resources to be able to raise a child. If they do not it is unfair to themselves and the child to conceive the child. I also do not agree with their policy on the second amendment. This is because it simply does not make sense to give citizens the power to take another life. The purpose of a country is to protect its citizens and not make them threats to each other.

REFERENCES

Hurricane Florence Starts Flooding Parts of the Carolinas N.d.CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/13/us/hurricane-florence-south-east-coast-wxc/index.html, accessed January 25, 2019.

Issues N.d.Kristina Roegner. https://www.kristinaroegner.com/issues/, accessed January 25, 2019.

Mecklenburg, NC Parks Need Millions in Spending, Advocates Say | Charlotte Observer N.d. https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article224630420.html, accessed January 25, 2019.

NC Gov. Cooper: Contact Governor Cooper N.d. https://governor.nc.gov/contact/contact-governor-cooper, accessed January 25, 2019.

North Carolina House of Representatives N.d.Ballotpedia. https://ballotpedia.org/North_Carolina_House_of_Representatives, accessed January 25, 2019.

Second Amendment | Scott Wiggam N.d. https://www.scottwiggam.com/services/primary-care-physician, accessed January 25, 2019.

State House Speaker Invites Trump to Give His State of the Union in North Carolina N.d.Newsobserver. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article224775275.html, accessed January 25, 2019.

The Voter’s Self Defense System N.d.Vote Smart. http://votesmart.org, accessed January 25, 2019.

Who Represents Me? – Ballotpedia N.d. https://ballotpedia.org/Who_represents_me%3F#address=1189+Beall+avenue+44691, accessed January 25, 2019.

Virginia & Maryland’s 19th District SWA #1

The current state of government of Virginia is divided as not one political party currently holds power in both legislative chambers and the governor’s office simultaneously. Currently, the governor’s office is held by a Democrat and the house and senate are controlled by Republicans. In the 2019 legislative session, Republicans are currently the majority with Sen. Thomas Norment Jr. serving as Senate Majority leader and Rep. Todd Gilbert serving as House Majority leader accompanied by Kirk Cox as speaker. Sen. Dick Saslaw and Rep. David Toscano serve as Senate and House Minority leaders respectively, however, Democrats have maintained control of the governor’s office with the election of Ralph Norton and the president of the Senate Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax. In both chambers’ republicans hold a slim margin of three in both the House and the Senate which could pose some issues in accomplishing its legislative goals.

The major legislative goal for this session is job creation, unemployment, farmland preservation, environmental justice, DACA recipients and tax policy. Governor Norton signed an executive order establishing the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice and in a bipartisan win with legislative leaders, backed a coal ash clean-up bill enforcing Dominion Energy to clean up four coal ash ponds around the state with some dating back to the 1930s. In response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Donald Trump signed more than a year ago, the Senate Finance subcommittee is brainstorming options for helping Virginians who might pay higher state taxes this spring because of changes in federal law. The Senate Committee on Education and Health approved Bill 1640 that DACA recipients and others who applied for permeant U.S. residency would pay in-state triton rates at state schools. Lastly, Governor Norton announced Virginias Unemployment Rate is at 2.8% which is driving the fixation on job creation due to it being the lowest rate since April 2001. This legislative session in its short time frame has shown effective bipartisanship focused on ensuring the betterment of the state and its people.

I am from Maryland’s 19th district represented in the Senate by Democrat Benjamin Kramer and in the house by Democrats Charlotte Crutchfield, Bonnie Cullison and Vaughn Stewart under Republican Governor Larry Hogan. The issues Senator Kramer has focused on this legislative season are Seniors, Environmental Protection, Public Safety, Animal Welfare, and support for those with Special Needs. As a delegate, Sen. Kramer was instrumental in passing the states strongest drunk driving law “Noah’s Law” after an officer who was killed by a drunk driver while completing a traffic stop and now currently sits on the Finance Committee and working on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program monitoring data for possible misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. Delegate Cullison prioritizes issues such as support for small business, high-quality education, safe and secure communities, environmental protection, the economy, and access to affordable healthcare. As a three-term incumbent, Cullison served on the health & Government Operations committee and has sponsored the Student Data Privacy Council to review practices and the implementation of the Student Data Privacy Act in 2015. Delegate Charlotte Crutchfileds who serves on the Judiciary Committee, prioritizes strong public schools, economy, public safety, and health. Freshman delegate Vaughn Stewart has set his agenda are healthcare, transportation, education, environment, gun sense, fiscal responsibility, Economy and honesty, and accountability. Stewart currently sits on the House Environment and Transportation Committee. As a first-time voter in the last election cycle, I am very optimistic in my representatives and the work they will do this legislative session.

SWA #1 Masani Francis

In New York’s state legislature, the Democrats are in control.  Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is the Governor of New York.  The Speaker of the House and Senate Leader, both Democrats, are Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, respectively.  The minority party leaders, obviously Republicans, are John Flanagan of the Senate and Brian Koll of the House.  Seeing that Democrats have control in Albany, it is fair to say that New York does not have a divided government.  “On Election Day, Democrats won an impressive majority in the chamber, putting them in control of both houses for the first time in years” (City & State).  In the 2018 elections, Democrats expanded their majority for the New York Senate and gained control of the chamber.  As all the 63 Senate seats were up for grabs, the Democrats won 40 seats, while the Republicans won 23 seats.  “At the time of the election, Democrats held 32 seats to Republicans’ 31.  However, Republicans controlled the chamber, as one Democratic state senator caucused with the Republican Party” (Ballotpedia).  The legislative process will be considerably different, and there are several bills on the table to possibly reach the governor, and maybe even get signed.  Some of the top bills that will be discussed in 2019 include issues such as, housing, criminal justice/ gun violence, education, health care, infrastructure, energy and environment, and several bills could return to the table.  These returning bills include issues and bills on sports betting, DREAM Act, voting reforms, LLC loopholes, and speed cameras, all of which if passed would have serious effects on the state (City & State).  One bill has been reviewed so far in 2019.  The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act is “an act to amend the insurance law and the social services law, in relation to requiring health insurance policies to include coverage of all FDA approved contraceptive drugs, devices, and products” (Program Bill #1).  My state house representative is Jack Rader, a Republican, and my state senate representative is Mario Scavello, also Republican.  They are the representatives of the 176th and 40th Districts of Pennsylvania, respectively.  Scavello pushes for support and action on several issues, such as school property tax reform, transportation infrastructure investment, economic development, and tourism promotion.  He mainly would like to shift school funding away from the burdensome school property tax (senatorscavello.com).  Jack Rader focuses on similar issues.  He would like to eliminate the property tax and reduce government involvement in everyday life.  He also promotes economic growth and job creation and supports a balanced budget (jackrader.com).  Generally, their position on most of the issues facing Pennsylvania line up with mine.  

Keegan King SWA#1

Alaska

Part 1: A

The current governor of Alaska is Mike Dunleavy. He is a republican who defeated democrat March Begich during the 2018 gubernatorial election. There is a discourse going on about who the speaker of the house will be for Alaska. The nominee was a Republican named David Talerico, who just yesterday (Kitchenman, 2019) was one vote short of becoming the speaker of the house. No secondary election has yet been announced. The president of the Alaska Senate is Republican Cathy Giessel and the Senate Majority leader is Mia Costello, also a Republican. There are 20 seats in the Alaskan senate. 13 are held by Republicans and 7 are held by the Democrats. There are 40 seats in the House of Representatives, 16 are Democratic, 23 are Republican and 1 is independent. In both cases, the majorities are Republican. This is conducive to an active and achievable legislative agenda, especially under the leadership of a Republican governor. The unity in the state of Alaska behind the Republican party should lead to success for the state legislature.

Part 1:B

The state legislature has placed a few key issues for the upcoming weeks. The Senate Finance Committee  met the 24th of January to reconcile issues with the Alaskan Oil and Gas commision, Census accuracy issues, Labor and workforce development (W3.akleg.gov, 2019). In his state of the Senate address, Mike Dunleavy outlined his agenda as governor: He called for a war on criminals, balance the budget, protect private investment security, create jobs and grow the economy, and restore trust in elected government officials (Remarks, 2019). These goals are outlined by the Juneau tribune in just their top 3 stories for Jan. 23rd (Juneau Empire, 2019). Alaska is looking to fix its budget, to which a deficient of 1.6 Billion dollars that was found in the initial budget proposed by Mike Dunleavy. Another concern was the 4 new crime bills that are the initial steps in the war on crime. Under a unified Republican government, the legislature of Alaska should have little issue in enacting its policies.

Part 2:A

The Ohio Senator who represents me is Steve Wilson and the Representative is Tom Brinkman. Steve Wilson was assigned to a committee for Education, Insurance and Financial institutions, Public safety, and the Ways and Means committee. He voted to ban abortions after the detection of a heartbeat. He established a database for violent offenders and was endorsed by the NRA. Tom Brinkman Jr. also voted for the bill that prohibits abortion after a heartbeat. He also amended education laws for primary schools, and signed a bill that prevents the coercion of marriage ceremonies against the beliefs of a licensed minister. Overall these two statesmen do represent my well. Both align with the Republican party which is the avenue for conservative ideals that I believe in. Specifically relating to abortion, gun laws and religious freedom.

 

Works Cited

Juneau Empire. (2019). Alaska Legislature | Juneau Empire. [online] Available at: https://www.juneauempire.com/tag/alaska-legislature/ [Accessed 25 Jan. 2019].

 

W3.akleg.gov. (2019). Alaska State Legislature. [online] Available at: http://w3.akleg.gov/index.php?tab2#tab2 [Accessed 25 Jan. 2019].

 

Remarks, S. (2019). 2019 State of the State Address – Michael J. Dunleavy. [online] Gov.alaska.gov. Available at: https://gov.alaska.gov/newsroom/2019/01/22/2019-state-of-the-state-address/ [Accessed 25 Jan. 2019].

 

Gordon Reeves SWA #1

Maryland’s 62nd Governor is Larry Hogan, a Republican from Anne Arundel County. An incumbent, Hogan campaigned recently on his popular status as a bipartisan governor, as evidenced by his success in passing legislation in Maryland’s House of Delegates that contained provisions appealing to both Republicans and Democrats. The 141-member House of Delegates is the “lower” chamber of the General Assembly, which is Maryland’s bicameral legislature; the “upper” is the State Senate, with a membership of 47 Senators. The Senate leader is Thomas Mike Miller Jr., a Democrat. The Democratic party has the majority in the Senate, and their leader is Douglas Peters. The Senatorial minority leader, representing the Republican party, is J.B. Jennings. Like the Senate, the House is controlled by Democrats. The majority leader is Kathleen Dumais, and the Republican minority leader is Nicholaus Ripke. Maryland’s legislative body is currently a divided government, with a Republican Governor but a Democratic-led General Assembly. Politically, Maryland is a more liberal state that typically votes for Democrats in both state and national elections. Unsurprisingly, the Democrats have a considerable margin over their Republican counterparts. There are 32 Democratic seats in the Senate, to 15 Republican seats. As for the House, 99 seats are held by Democrats while 42 are held by Republicans. Nonetheless, Governor Hogan’s bipartisan efforts often override the polarizing forces of either party, and his Republican membership ensures that their political interests are fairly represented in legislation. Both parties have been able to pass party-approved bills under Hogan.

One of the major legislative goals that will be prevalent in the opening session of 2019 is the effort to override Governor Hogan’s veto on a bill requiring Maryland employers to provide sick leave to their employees. If and when this override occurs (which it likely will, as pundits have predicted), the next question will be to determine what shape the specifics of a sick leave bill would take. The Democratic leadership has made it evident that they consider themselves the vanguards of this portion of the agenda. Maryland must also choose how it will respond to tax cuts enacted by the Trump administration, and if it will follow or oppose this trend for state-level taxes. Additionally, federal legislation has created an array of complex issues in the field of health care that the state has to navigate carefully. Namely, the removal of the individual mandate created by the Affordable Care Act under President Obama, the halting of cost-sharing reduction payments, and low levels of funding for CHIP have forced the legislature to act decisively in order to ensure that many Marylanders remain effectively covered for their medical expenses. Finally, the Governor and General Assembly will be considering the legal status of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is currently legal in the state, but it remains divisive on both sides of the aisle as to how and to what degree cannabis for medical purposes should be legally controlled, if at all.

I reside in Maryland’s 4th District for state-level elections. My representative in the State Senate is Michael Hough, a Republican. According to his official website (https://senatorhough.com/), Hough “believes in the founding principles of our country; limited government, individual responsibility, and lower taxes.” He supports lenient and reformist justice for non-violent criminals, while increasing penalties for violent offenders. He stands for the protection of property rights from the government and supports Americans’ Second Amendment rights. He is considered one of the most conservative state senators in Maryland by some sources. Based on this information, I would say that he represents me well, although I would prefer that he take a greater stand for environmental protection. As for the House of Representatives, Jesse Pippy and Dan Cox represent District 4, and both of them are Republicans. Pippy’s main focal point in the House is on modernizing Maryland’s economic structure with market capitalism aligned towards small businesses. He tends to take a moderate Evangelical-conservative position on most other issues (https://jessepippy.com/). Dan Cox makes his stances clear on all pivotal issues: the right to life, Second Amendment rights and other defenses from government overreach, property rights, thorough border security and deportation of illegal immigrants, and galvanizing the rights of farmers. Both of these Senators represent me well and likely most of their overwhelmingly rural constituency; I especially appreciate Cox’s commitment to protecting the food supply and ensuring that farmers can remain afloat, even in tough economic circumstances.

 

Table of Consultations

https://senatorhough.com/ (2)

https://jessepippy.com/ (3)

 

 

Michigan’s priorities

The state of Michigan is controlled by a bicameral legislature: the Senate (upper house) and the House of Representatives (lower house). Michigan’s political actors include its Governor (Gretchen Whitmer), Speaker (Lee Chatfield), and its Majority and Minority leaders. Of the Majority, Mike Shirkey (Senate) and Tristan Cole (House) are its current legislative leaders. Of the Minority, Jim Ananich (Senate) and Christine Greig (House) are its current legislative leaders. Although previously a Republican trifecta, the state of Michigan is currently a divided legislature with no current party trifectas (when a party holds Governor’s office and Majorities in both state chambers). In terms of success, a divided legislature will not help matters and only perpetuates the need for a productive agenda-setting session. In the Senate, the new margin is 27-11 with a Republican majority. In the House, it is a much smaller margin of 58-52 Republican. Since Gretchen Whitmer is of the opposing party, legislative success this term might be slightly stagnant. It might be easier for the state to accomplish its set goals if the same party held the Governor’s office and at least one chamber majority.

Since her inaugural remarks on January 1, 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has initiated a total of 5 executive directives to address the concerns of Michigan’s denizens. Her first order of office was to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare. On January 3, Whitmer ordered a directive focused on establishing and maintaining an ethical state government. Of the many issues, this directive will mostly target any budget irregularities, prohibiting solicitors from making any political contributions in state facilities, and much more. On January 4, she passed another directive focused on rehabilitating zones in Michigan where small local businesses and communities have lost capital and has since diminished. Whitmer is relying on the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to partner with small business with new policies to create and expand new opportunities for growth. On January 8, she passed an equality directive aimed at ethical payment and management between employees and employers. Overall, the agenda of Michigan seems to strive toward supporting ethical practices and equal opportunities and growth for the state.

I live in Neshannock Township, a small suburban area outside of New Castle, PA in Lawrence County. My statewide representatives are Elder Vogel (R-Senate) and Chris Sainato (D-House). Chris Sainato, who is a family friend, was just sworn in for his 13th term as PA’s House Representative. On January 7, he was reappointed (9th term) as the democratic chair of Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. His continuous reappointment of this committee’s chair says a great deal about his stance/platform. New Castle, historically known as a steel mill town, has been decrepit and rundown for generations. There is some monetary wealth left from the “20th century” representative of old factory buildings and business. All these vacant buildings are still being filed for tax cuts from through family inheritance, so the city cannot revitalize those areas until the owners sell. Throughout his 12 terms, Chris has done much to revitalize New Castle at its worst. Recently, he fought for $180,000 in tax credits to help rebuild distressed areas. Launched a plan that granted surrounding townships $425,000 for sewer upgrades. He also presented a statewide emergency planning commission with 27 recommendations to increase emergency preparedness and strength for the city of New Castle. Although Chris shares many ideals with a party that I disagree with, he has and will continue to regenerate the community of New Castle.

My state senator is Elder Vogel, Jr. I know very little about him, but he seems has runs a similar platform to Chris Sainato. He was reappointed as chair for the Senate Agricultural and Rural Affairs committee. Recently, he has helped procure over $100,000 in funding for New Castle’s local airport in addition to more supplemental community safety grants. He also is fairly active in veteran’s affairs and supporting our heroes and their families, given he recently hosted a rep. from the American Legion’s Veteran Assistance Program.

In general, I believe both of these officials represent me well but more importantly, represent New Castle/statewide townships better and making community needs a priority. As of now, I would vote for their re-election come next term.

 

Sources:

 

Ballotpedia: Who Represents Me?

 

Ballotpedia State Legislatures

 

www.senatoreldervogel.com

 

www.pahouse.com