Question

Respond to the following prompt:

Write a brief (5-7 pages) political biography of one elected state or local official (governor, state legislator, elected judge, mayor, school board member, county executive, town or city councilmember, etc.). Discuss your member’s campaign. What type of district does he/she represent in terms of economics, partisanship, demographics, industry, geography, etc.? What type of candidate is she/he (freshman, long-term incumbent, etc.)? What has your official’s elections looked like in the past (close, landslide, etc.)? How do these factors affect their legislative style? What are the state or local institutional bounds that impact your member (term limits, campaign financing limits, recalls allowed, off-presidential elections, professionalized legislatures, judicial elections, length of legislative term, multi-member or single-member districts, etc.)?

Next, discuss a few meaningful aspects of your member's work. If a state legislator, county commissioner, or town or city councilmember, what committee assignments do they have, and how do they contribute to your member's ability to accomplish their goals? What legislation has your member sponsored? Are they a party-line voter, or more independent from party ties? Are they in the leadership? If a governor or other executive (mayor, county executive, etc.), what campaign promises have they made and have they fulfilled them? What legislation have they signed into law or vetoed? How do they interact with the legislature? Have they signed any executive orders? If a judge, what major cases have they presided over? What is their judicial philosophy? Do they seem to toe the party line, or do they seem to decide independently? In all cases, who donates to their campaigns?

Where will you find information on your member?
Member and challenger web sites
Interest group ratings
Census for district data
Databases at UMD library on states (Statemaster, etc.)
National Conference of State Legislators
National League of Cities
Stateline.com
Website of institution in which member serves
State election results, state secretary of state or state board of elections

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Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s political career has spanned nearly three decades, from the mid-80s when he was state field director for then-Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski’s successful US Senate campaign (The Office of Governor Martin O’Malley, n.d., n.p.), to his just-concluded second term as Maryland Governor. And with a run at the Democratic nomination for President in 2016 just getting off the ground, even if victory is unlikely given his competition, Gov. O’Malley’s political career is still very much a going concern. In fact, his prominence on the national stage has never been higher, with a recent profanity-infused critique of Republican economic policy earning considerable plaudits from his leftwing base and raising enough eyebrows across the spectrum to—at least temporarily—raise his profile and fill his campaign coffers (Malloy, 2015, n.p.). So, clearly, there’s a lot to say about a politician with a story as long and as eventful as Gov...

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