Decisions Leading to the Development and Structuring of a New Congressional Office
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The development and structuring of a new Congressional office provides interesting and challenging decisions for those involved. A newly elected Congressman must put together a staff, develop a relationship with his district and other members of the congress, and begin making policy decisions within a very short period of time. These early decisions are crucial and results of these decisions will probably remain visible throughout his term in office. This paper is an attempt to examine the decisions made by one freshman congressman and his staff. It is an effort to determine the reasoning behind the decisions and the early results of those decisions. These early decisions concerning the staff, the course of constituent relations, and the process of policy formation provide the basic framework of the congressional office. The task of building a congressional office is by no means an easy one. There are alternatives to virtually every decision to be made, while several combinations of these alternatives would produce functioning congressional offices, some combinations will be better than others. No two offices will turn out exactly alike. The following account is the result of first hand observations and interviews made while working as an intern for Congressman Jim Dunn, a freshman Republican representing Michigan's Sixth Congressional District. The internship provided me with an opportunity to observe and participate in the formation of a Congressional office. I began my work and my observations before the office phones were connected and before several of the staff positions were filled. Over the course of three months I was able to observe characteristics and developments within the office in which I was working and in other congressional offices as well. I hope this account will shed light upon some of the decisions that are made in a congressional office by means of exploring the elements that make up such decisions. The early decisions made in the office will probably establish the basis for the decisions made during the duration of the term. I hope these observations and conclusions successfully establish the bases for these decisions.