Get the Story (and Add What You Know) on the Freshman MembersJanuary 6, 2011 - by Conor Kenny
The new Congress is here, which means it’s time for us to start holding them accountable. Over on the OpenCongress Wiki, we’ve got profiles of each of the 100+ members of the freshman class of 2012, and we need your help to record & track all the promises and positions they took during the campaign. With the new House leadership already backing off their spending-cut promises on the first day of Congress, it’s going to be critical that we create a permanent record of both what they promised as candidates and what they do as senators and representatives.
Beyond accountability, these profiles can also provide a good clue as to what the freshman are thinking (or at least what they’ve been saying) as they approach the myriad of tough problems facing Congress and the country this year. For example, looking at freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon (R, IN-08), pictured at right, we find that he has promised to balance the budget, partially by freezing and ending the stimulus and bailout programs but also, in a rare show of honesty and political bravery, by acknowledging that a balanced budget without tax cuts will likely require some defense spending cuts as well.
On energy and the environment, Rep. Bucshon will likely be opposing climate change legislation and lobbying for “clean coal”. Bucshon also opposes privatizing Social Security and comprehensive immigration reform. Finally, we find out that Bucshon is a surgeon who supports repealing the health care reform bill and that his #1 priority is improving reimbursement rates for doctors under Medicare, both of which make the number of health care and insurance companies in his top campaign donor list unsurprising. For more on Rep. Bucshon, see his OC Wiki profile, and find information on all the freshman via our list here.
Our first task for researching the Class of 2012 is finding out what they look like. Help our your fellow citizens by finding pictures of the freshman members on the web and uploading them to OpenCongress here. It’s easy and has the immediate gratification of seeing the picture all over our website! Help us build public knowledge about Congress on our open-source community wiki. Read more background on how to participate in the community Wiki (our user guidelines and citation policies) — plus it’s all written in open-source semantic MediaWiki, so feel free to call our free API and query our semantic MediaWiki and remix our code. Questions & comments welcome, email us: conor at opencongress d0t org.