Who Cares How Big the California Congressional Delegation Is?


The new census numbers have put attention on the size of the California Congressional delegation. The state that has added Congressional districts after each decennial census won't add a seat. We won't lose one either.

The census news misses the more important point: why doesn't our massive Congressional delegation -- 55 people in all -- achieve more for California?

The short answer: because members of our delegation don't work together. There are no regular meetings of the entire delegation--heck, there aren't meetings of any kind. And there is no effort to cooperate to leverage the delegation's size on behalf of Californians. This is a bipartisan failure, as Democrast and Republicans have been prone to focus more on national or partisan agenda items.

Perhaps the change in our relative size -- Texas and Florida added multiple seats and are gaining on us -- can be a spur to greater cooperation and action. But don't bet on it. Here's how bad things are: last month, Congressman John Campbell, an Orange County Republican who has been an important player as a state legislator and now as a congressman in DC, told me he had never once spoken to or met U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, his fellow Californian. Campbell said that when he needs something from the U.S. Senate, he works with U.S. Sen Dianne Feinstein or her office.

Imagine that. They work in the same building, for the same state. And they haven't met. Before Californians worry about not gaining more seats, they need to get more work and cooperation from the large delegation they're already sending to Washington.

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