Michael Turner: Delegate or Trustee?

In Congress, Representatives are often expected to vote on behalf of the constituents that they represent. For example, a Republican Representative from Texas would likely be expected to vote in support of Conservative values. This is due to the state’s majority population hailing from Christian backgrounds, of which much of the Republican party is made up of Christians and otherwise religious members. This is an example of sociological representation, which is when a Representative comes from a similar racial, religious, or educational background as his or her constituents. When a Congressman is elected to represent their district, they are expected to vote in favor of the opinions and values of those in their district. My home district Representative, Michael “Mike” Turner, is an example of such behavior. Representing in a fairly conservative district, many of the policies and bills he has supported have been in congruence with many of the other Republicans serving in the House. Only a select few times has he ever voted for (or against) a bill that the majority of his party has supported. If he were to vote separately from the wishes of his constituents more often, he would likely lose the support of the residents. This is because he participates in agency representation as well, which is when a Congressman acts as an agent of the views of his constituents. Due to the importance of receiving the district’s support, he must not deviate from the other party members too often. Therefore, many of his votes have been in support of the values of those in his district.

For example, Michael Turner voted to pass HR 1797, which bans abortion after 20 weeks. Overall, I agree with his decision, as women’s access to contraception is fairly convenient in the Dayton area. There are various Planned Parenthood and women’s health care centers in the area where women can be tested for STDs and learn about the best birth control methods, so that they will not require an abortion. Furthermore, while Dayton itself is fairly liberal, its surrounding cities (Huber Heights, Fairborn, Springfield, etc.) are quite conservative. Therefore, his vote to pass the bill increases his approval rating among his constituents.

He voted to elect John Boehner as the Speaker of the House. Although I do not agree with all of Boehner’s political views (his opinion on same-sex marriage, for example), I do believe that he was a good representative of the Republican party. Michael Turner, coming from a conservative-leaning district, made a good decision to support him, as Boehner’s opponent at the time was Nancy Pelosi, a Democratic Congresswoman highly disliked by many Conservatives, especially in the 10th district.

He voted to pass the Farm Bill. Although it helps with farm support programs, ultimately the law pulls federal funding from food stamp aid. I do not agree with this decision, personally. The poverty rate in Ohio is over 10 percent, and over 900,000 families receive some sort of government assistance (https://www.development.ohio.gov/files/research/p7005.pdf). Many families depend on the assistance to survive, including in the 10th district. However, one can also argue that there are many farmers residing in the district, as it includes much of Greene County, which is almost completely rural. Therefore, while I personally do not agree with the decision, it is probably the best for his constituents.

He voted for the budget agreement (HJ RES 59). This would put in place a two-year budget outline for funding the government through the year 2015. This helped the district (as well as the rest of the U.S.) cut down on government spending for the time period. Therefore, it was a good choice for the wellbeing of society.

He voted “no” for the Fiscal Cliff bill, which ended up passing the House. The bill would extend tax relief provisions, allowing many to be exempt from taxes. In a time when the nation is deeply in debt, I believe that it is best for the 10th district and the nation that he voted against this bill.

In every instance listed above, with the exception of the Fiscal Cliff bill, Turner has voted in a similar manner to House members who are also a part of the Republican party. This is likely due to his representation of a conservative-leaning district; while he occasionally votes through his conscience instead of the party’s view (the act of doing such is the performance of a trustee), most of his behaviors represent the ideal of delegation. A delegate votes on behalf of his constituents, often seeming to “follow orders” from them. Turner, coming from similar sociological backgrounds as his constituents as well, is likely voting from his conscience as well. However, due to the demands of the district members and pressure of reelections, ultimately one must vote in support of their district’s values. Therefore, I believe that Michael Turner is a delegate for the 10th district of Ohio.


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