In a country where the government is empowered to represent the will of the people, there are many responsibilities and duties involved with holding a position of power. Although there are many different positions to be had, Congressman is one of the most important. Having the role of Congressman requires taking responsibility for your constituents more than almost any other position. With having the responsibility of being the voice of a small area within a state, the residents of the areas to which you must represent are much “closer” to you than if you were a Senator or President. Now to take a look at one of the best representatives in the state of New Jersey: Rush Holt.
Rush Holt, the representative for New Jersey’s 12th district, was born October 15th 1948 in Weston, West Virginia, to father Rush D. Holt and mother Helen Holt. Rush, who is now 60, was brought up as a protestant. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at Carlton College in Minnesota, and followed with a master’s and doctorate while attending New York University (Representative Rush Holt).
Rush Holt has held many relevant jobs in his lifetime, such as being the assistant director of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 1989 to 1997; he was also the acting chief of the nuclear and scientific division in the Office of Strategic Forces Analysis in the United States Department from 1987 to 1989. He was also the assistant professor of the physics department of Swathmore College from 1980 to 1987. His other careers included being a Congressional Science Fellow in the office of Representative Bob Edgar from 1982 to 1983, Consultant in energy and environmental matters from 1976 to 1980, a teaching fellow at New York University in the Department of Physics from 1974 to 1980, an acoustic physicist for the New York City Environmental Protection Administration from 1972 to 1974, and finally a youth programs director at Aldersgate Methodist Camp from 1970 to 1972. (Representative Rush D. Holt). All of which have helped him gain insight and knowledge in order to become the congressman he has become today.
Rush was first elected into office on November 3rd 1998 to become a member of the House of Representatives. This has given him ten years experience in office. He is a member of the Democratic Party, and is a member of a large variety of committees. Rush is a member of three committees in the House; the Education & Labor committee, the Natural Resources committee, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Representative Rush D. Holt). His wide array of committee involvement clearly shows his dedication to a number of different issues.
The role of a United States Representative is, ultimately, to be the voice of the constituents they represent. They serve two year terms which would leave them to be more inclined to be in touch with the people. Representatives serve as members of the House of Representatives which makes up one half of the United States legislative branch along with the Senate. The House of Representatives is compromised of 435 members, each representing a particular region of each state.
Rush Holt is the representative of New Jersey’s 12th district. This area has a population of 647,258 residents according to the 2000 census. It encompasses towns within Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Somerset counties. The district (as of 2000) is comprised of 25 percent of its residents being under the age of 18, and 13 percent over the age of 65. Seventy two percent of these residents are non-Hispanic whites, 11 percent are black, 9 percent are Asian, and 5 percent are Hispanic (“Congressional District 12 Profile”). Rush recently was re-elected to hold the senate seat for New Jersey’s 12th district through a race against republican candidate, Alan Bateman. Rush won his district with a 62 to 36 percent victory over Bateman, which will now leave Rush to start his 5th term (“US House New Jersey”).
The involvement of representatives in committees helps them to convey their concern for certain issues and areas of interest to their constituents. Rush Holt plays key roles in the three committees he serves. All of which are of great importance to the United States.
First, he is a member of the Education and Labor Committee. This committee is compromised of 27 Democrats, 21 Republicans. George Miller is the chairman, and Howard P. McKeon is the ranking member (“Committee Members”). While serving under this committee, according to NJVoterInfo.org, Rush Holt “passed legislation to increase investment in math and science education by more than $250 million; amended legislation to speed-up loan forgiveness for math and science teachers; and was one of only two House members to serve on the prestigious Glenn Commission on Mathematics and Science Education” (“Congressional District 12 Profile”). Along with this, Rush was also responsible for getting the government to invest in foreign language programs. He also blocked the Bush administration from enacting legislation that would result in the loss of thousands of students’ abilities to receive loans and grants for college.
The second committee Rush Holt is a member of is the Natural Resources Committee. This committee is comprised of 27 Democrats, and 22 Republicans. Nick J. Rahall is the chairman, and Don Young is the ranking member (“Committee Members”). Rush Holt’s involvement with this committee conveys his concern for America’s natural resources, their uses, and allocations for use. Just in New Jersey alone, Rush secured $2.2 million for open space preservation to prevent commercialization or residential modification of open space land. Nationwide he secured a total of $40 million for the same cause. He also introduced legislation to have the Environmental Protection Agency re-asses its means for measuring fuel economy in cars (“Congressional District 12 Profile”). Having the guts to take a stand against President Bush’s wishes, Rush Holt said:
“The Bush administration’s assault on our environment has been well documented, though not well publicized. I’ve stood up for our nation’s environmental crown jewels, and am committed to safeguarding our National Parks and Preserves. I support efforts to clean up our air, land, and water and believe in pursuing environmentally sound means of decreasing our reliance on polluting fossil fuels”(“Environment”).
Rush Holt clearly holds the environment in great importance to himself and his constituents. And more importantly, these are only a few of numerous examples of his dedication to the environment.
Finally, the third committee Rush Holt belongs to is The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This committee is comprised of 12 Democrats and nine Republicans. Silvestre Reyes is the Chairman, and Peter Hoekstra is the ranking member (“Committee Members”). Holt’s belonging to this committee expresses his concern for National Security, as intelligence is the key to preventing attacks, losses, or damages to the United States’ people, property, or interests. Through his work with the committee Rush has accomplished many feats including, but not limited to, initiating a federal study biological weapons and their genetic makeup in order to help those medical and legal professionals who respond first to be better prepared if and when a biological attack were to occur (“Congressional District 12 Profile”). He is also heavily involved in the war in Iraq and desires for our troops to be withdrawn from that environment.
One way to follow along with what a representative believes in, and backs, is to look at his or her voting history. This is the most clear cut demonstration of their will, regardless of what is said by politicians in speeches, and quotes, what they vote for is fact and can’t be skewed or embellished. Rush Holt’s voting habits clearly reflect his interests and the interests of his constituents. For example, in September of 2007, he voted “yes” to the expansion of the States Children’s Health Insurance Program which was ultimately passed.
In August of 2007, Holt voted “no” in order to prevent U.S. spy agencies to have the ability to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order and this amendment, to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, was rejected. In July of 2007, Rush voted “yes” for the creation of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and for the inspection of all cargo on passenger aircrafts. This was passed as well. In January of 2007, he voted “yes” to a bill that would lower student loan interest rates. This bill was ultimately passed (“Key Votes by Rush”). Just by looking at these few examples, one can see that Rush votes with, what seems to be, the best interest of our nation.
Through his terms in the House, Rush Holt has sponsored, and co-sponsored, many bills. They have a very wide range, covering the concerns of veterans, travel, national security, elections, and students’ interests. His concern for these issues backs his statements, actions, and the desires of his constituents. Rush alone has sponsored 51 bills during 2007 and 2008.
Looking at veteran’s concerns, Rush Holt has proposed bills in order to give benefits to those who have served active duty on behalf of our country. One such bill, “H.Con.Res.5” expresses support for veterans looking for work. This bill proposes that a “hire a veteran week” be implemented and publically supported by the President. Thus far, this bill has passed through the house, and is awaiting the senate.
On the subject of travel, Rush Holt covers an array of subjects from fuel savings, efficient roadways, and energy efficient vehicles. Bill “H.R.157” pushes for the Secretary of Energy to report to congress on the creation of a more intelligent travel planning system for businesses and consumers in order to avoid delays and increase efficient travel and the resulting effects of the potential saving of fuel.
Rush Holt has also played a role in sponsoring bills relating to national security. Bill “H.R.488” was created in order to amend the amend title IV of the National Security Act of 1947 which would require reports be submitted to the Attorney General for any request about any officer or any other government employee linked to the Intelligence Department. Also bill “H.R.7382” has been proposed in order to reiterate that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 is the only authority to permit electronic surveillance. This bill also supports the modernization of surveillance authorities.
Given recent problems with the election process, Rush Holt has introduced a number of bills concerning election related issues. For example, bill “H.R.4145” pushes for not allowing the recount of any election until all provisional ballots have been counted. Bill “H.R.6794” is for the creation of policy to reimburse jurisdictions who would have encountered problems during the most recent election causing them to have to revert to paper ballots which would, in turn, cost them extra money due to technical difficulties beyond their control.
Finally, students’ interests seem to be a very prevalent concern for Rush Holt. There appears to be more bills related to students and education proposed by Rush Holt than on any other subject. An example of this would be bill “H.R.3197” which would provide money to state and local education institutions to promote “EnergySmart” schools and Energy Star programs. Bill “H.R.3290” calls for the implementation of the use of better pest treatment systems in order to cut back on the use of pesticides. “H.R.2017” is directed towards benefiting the part-time student by providing access and assistance to increase college attendance and completion.
Rush Holt first made his way into the House of Representatives during the 1998 elections; his incumbent was Michael J. Pappas. This was a very important election considering that Pappas is a Republican and Holt a Democrat. This conveyed a shift in power in the 12th district from Republican to Democratic. Not only did the districts party change, the resulting change tipped the balance of power in favor of the democrats for the state of New Jersey. Rush won by 5,307 votes, much of which was contributed to Mr. Pappas singing praises for the impeachment of President Clinton to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the house floor. Holt’s campaign used the video of Pappas to win over the public.
During the 2000 election, Rush Holt went head-to-head with Republican Dick Zimmerman. This proved to be an extremely close race resulting in the victory of Holt over Zimmerman by 1,051 votes. Rush continued his domination in the 2002 election with a huge win over DeForest Soaries. Holt succeeded in this election with 81.6 percent of the votes. The next election in 2004 wasn’t such a landslide as in 2002. Rush Holt defended his seat against Bill Spadea by taking 59 percent of the votes. In 2006 Holt won 66 percent of the votes from Republican Joseph Sinagra (“Election Statistics”). And in the most recent election of 2008, Rush Holt contended against Alan Bateman to result in another victory with 62 percent of the votes (“US House New Jersey”).
The fact that Rush Holt has been able to hold his seat in the House for 10 years now shows that he must be doing something right. With strong feelings and concerns in the areas of smart growth, sustainable energy, stem cell research, women’s right to choose, civil rights, labor laws and education, Rush has proven his genuine concern for his constituents and that is the reason why he is able to hold his seat (“About Rush Holt”).
The last thing to take a look at when analyzing a politician is their money. All of these accomplishments require money in order to campaign and succeed. As a perfect example, Rush Holt, for the most recent election, had $1,074,598 compared to his competitor, Alan Bateman, who had a mere $34,335 for his campaign (“Congressional Races In New Jersey,”).
The question still remains “Where did all of this money come from?” Rush Holt’s top five contributors include Princeton University with $18,200, The Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, The National Education Association, and The Operating Engineers Union all contributed $10,000 each, and in fifth Johnson & Johnson with $9,800. Rush’s largest industry supporter was the retired peoples with a total contribution of $111,086. Rush Holt’s PAC committee was able to raise $326,945 for his campaign.
The roots of this campaign money clearly reflect some of Rush Holt’s personal interests. Being a former employee of Princeton, and a supporter of school systems, this would make a clear explanation for the amount of money Princeton and the National Education Association contributed to Holt’s campaign. His contributions from The Operating Engineers Union, and the Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers would reflect his interest in labor laws.
Overall Congressman Rush Holt is a fit candidate to hold office. His ability to hold office for 6 terms as the representative of New Jersey’s 12th district, exhibits his concern for his constituents, passion towards his causes, and care for the overall wellness of the area he represents. If more representatives had the desire of Rush Holt, this country would be much better off.
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“Biography.” Representative Rush Holt. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://holt.house.gov/?about.shtml>.
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“Committee Members.” Natural Resources Committee. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/?index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=51>.
“Committee Membership.” Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://intelligence.house.gov/?CommitteeMembership.aspx>.
“Congressional District 12 Profile.” NJ Voter Info. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.njvoterinfo.org/?cp/?12.php>.
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“Election Statistics.” Office of the Clerk. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://clerk.house.gov/?member_info/?electionInfo/?index.html>.
“Environment.” Representative Rush Holt. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://holt.house.gov/?environment.shtml>.
“Key Votes by Rush Holt.” The Washington Post. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://projects.washingtonpost.com/?congress/?members/?h001032/?key-votes/>.
Representative Rush D. Holt Jr. Vote Smart. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.votesmart.org/?bio.php?can_id=22574>.
“Rep. Rush Holt.” OpenCongress. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.opencongress.org/?people/?show/?400184_rush_holt>.
“Rush Holt.” The Washington Times. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.washingtontimes.com/?elections/?candidate/?261/>.
“Sponsored Bill: Rep. Rush Holt [D, NJ-12].” OpenCongress. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.opencongress.org/?person/?sponsoredbills/?400184_rush_holt?page=1>.
“US House New Jersey 12.” Local and National Election Results. 6 Nov. 2008. CNN. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.cnn.com/?ELECTION/?2008/?results/?individual/?#mapHNJ/?H/?12>.