Dilemmas of Representation

Local Politics, National Factors, and the Home Styles of Modern U.S. Congress Members

By Sally Friedman

Subjects: Congressional Studies
Paperback : 9780791470763, 292 pages, January 2008
Hardcover : 9780791470756, 292 pages, May 2007

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Author’s Note
1. Introduction

2. Overview of Theoretical and Methodological Concerns

3. Rethinking the Local-National Debate
Carolyn Maloney: Getting Involved at Home and in Washington
Amo Houghton: Public Service with a Business Slant
John McHugh: “I Know the Process and I Know the Players”

4. National Parties, Individual Choices (with Christopher Witko)
Sue Kelly: Balancing Constituent Interests, Issues, and Party
Michael McNulty: Interactions among Party, Constituency, and a Changing Political Context
Carolyn McCarthy: Politics Made Personal on Long Island’s 4th
5. The Local-National Connection and the Representation of Minorities (with Michael Rogers)
Eliot Engel: Bringing Together Difference
Nydia Velazquez: Latino Culture Drives the Politics of the 12th
6. Balancing Constituencies: Fenno’s Bull’s-eye Model in the 1990s
Jack Quinn: Having Your Cake and Eating It Too
Maurice Hinchey: Issue Activist at Home in his District
7. Concluding Perspectives
Works Cited

In-depth analysis of the representational styles of several members of Congress from New York State.


While the Congress literature of the 1970s and 1980s led to the dominant impression that all politics is local, in recent years legislative behavior has pointed in more national directions. Dilemmas of Representation comprehensively examines the multifaceted activities of several legislators from New York, one of the country's most diverse states. Legislators still include strong local components in their home styles, but a variety of national factors now contribute notably to an understanding of local politics. This book encourages the reader to think more about the appropriate balance of local and national emphasis in legislator home styles, and also the advantages and disadvantages of the contrasting representational styles used by some contemporary representatives.

Sally Friedman is Associate Professor of Political Science at Rockefeller College, University at Albany, State University of New York.


"…a fresh look at representation in an era when national politics have increasingly shaped the relationships between legislators and their constituencies … it furthers our understanding of Congress from the grass roots. " — Political Science Quarterly

"Thoughtfully researched and carefully reasoned. " — CHOICE

"The changes in representational processes in today's highly partisan era require us to rethink much of the conventional wisdom about American political institutions. Friedman weaves this focus throughout the book and addresses the variation that exists in the way members of Congress adjust to these changes. " — Bruce I. Oppenheimer, Vanderbilt University