Congressman Don Beyer understands the inherent need for the families of civil servants and veterans to be provided with affordable housing to call home. Looking across the Potomac river, Congressman Don Beyer recognized the effectiveness of the Montgomery County program, the Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit (MPDU) system, and wishes to apply lessons learned across the river to his constituents in Virginia. Congressman Beyer plans to introduce a legislative initiative that would retool the current program – Affordable Dwelling Home (ADH) – in order to provide an overwhelming expansion of housing available for civil servants and veterans. Additionally, this initiative will conduct a total review of the application process for determining the need for housing based on the income of an applicant. Congressman Beyer also understands that in order to sustain future ADH development and foster a competitive, well rounded program, the needs of the program must be based upon square footage of housing units, rather than solely basing development of the program on the number of housing units built, so that the district, counties, townships can be better prepared to accommodate the influx of families.
During his tenure as congressman, Representative Beyer has voted in favor of numerous bills that protect the housing of veterans and civil servants in his district and around the nation. Drawing from his legislative and philanthropic record, Congressman Beyer has time and time again shown his total devotion to standing up for the housing rights for all that inhabit this country. In the house, Congressman Beyer is not afraid to stand up to Republicans, but has also shown his willingness to reach across the aisle to his Republican counterparts and reach legislative agreements between parties. The protection of housing rights of not only his constituents by the American people is of the utmost importance to the legislative agenda for Congressman Beyer.
Congressman Beyer, a lifelong servant to Virginia and its people, offers a continuation of a positive choice for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. Congressman Beyer is committed to fighting for every inch of legislation for Virginia, and will strive to create unbreakable bonds between Virginia and Capitol Hill, while reaching across party lines to better strengthen the standing of the United States.
In 1991, social and political scientist Daniel Kelovich authored the book, Coming to public judgment: Making democracy work in a complex world, in which he wrote about the public’s attitudes towards issues and credit claiming, and made a compelling distinction between public opinion and public judgment. According to Kelovich, public opinion reflects the current leanings of the public on an issue at any given moment. This then, by its nature, fluctuates at the total whim of the public. Public opinion is not necessarily based upon knowledge of facts, but more reliant upon the emotional ebb and flow driven by the media. Conversely, public judgment can be seen as less susceptible to the emotional ebb and flow of the public and based more upon facts than anything else. Therefore, when a constituency makes a “judgment” on an issue, according to Kelovich, it means that a semi-total understanding of an issue has been met. The public have checked their sources, collected multiple corroborating opinions, and have weighed the future implications of a policy. Congress, then, is charged with the task of formulating legislative agendas and initiatives that reflect – in theory – the judgment of their consistency, as opposed to forming legislative agendas and initiatives based off of public opinion.
Virginia’s 8th Congressional District makes up the better half of Northern Virginia. By the grace of its geographical location, the 8th district is directly across from the Washington D.C. , which means many of the individuals that work across the river for the federal government make up the District’s population. Furthermore, Northern Virginia is home to a handful of major government agencies headquarters; the Pentagon, Fort Myer, Fort Belvoir, Marine Corps Base Quantico, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the United States Geological Survey all reside within the 8th Congressional District of Virginia. It is not small leap then to identify why Representative Beyer has been the serving champion of the wants and needs for government employees and armed service members. By taking the stance of providing affordable housing to the underprivileged of the government working class, Representative Beyer telegraphs to his constituency that he understand their needs and wishes to endow them with the amenities that should be afforded to them for their service to the country.
By providing the voter base with a solid voting record, greater amounts of trust can be endowed upon his legislative agenda. The first paragraph of the policy meme addresses Representative Beyers commitment to enacting policy that would directly impact his constituents, and sets forth a plan of action as to how the Affordable Dwelling Home (ADH) would be retooled to better serve the district.
In addition to be connected with his voter base, Representative Beyer has the legislative record and political experience to prove that he will continue to fight for the representation of his constituency and the privileges they wish to be granted and upheld. Cosponsoring bills suchs as H. R. 5602, which seeks to amend the United States Housing Act of 1937 and “to establish
pass-through lease arrangements for uninhabitable dwelling units, and for other purposes” (Affordable Housing Protection Act, section 2, 2018). This amendment to the original 1937 bill would, if passed, would create a safety net for individuals living within affordable housing by providing “Any owner of a covered dwelling unit that was rendered uninhabitable shall, if approved by the Secretary, temporarily lease a habitable dwelling unit in another building for the covered resident for the period during which such unit is repaired” (Affordable Housing Protection Act, section 2, line 7, 2018).
In the second paragraph of the policy meme, Representative Beyers voting record is first hinted at, while maintain that he is still and able to stand up to Republicans, thus showing his total willingness to stand up for his constituency and be their champion in Washington D.C.. In 2017, Representative Beyer co sponsored a bill entitled, Housing Our Heroes Act, which would “direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a pilot grant program to acquire and renovate abandoned homes for homeless veterans (Housing Our Heroes Act, para 1, 2017). Representative Beyer was one of thirteen Democracy working with five Republicans to introduce the bill to the floor. Showing his willingness to reach across party lines to reach a consensus to benefit the entire country is noteworthy, especially in today’s current political climate of polarization. Additionally, in 2017, Representative Beyer toured the construction site of St. James Plaza. As reported by AHC Inc., the non-profit financing the project:
St. James Plaza will include a mix of efficiencies, one-two- and three-bedroom
apartments. Rents will range from 40% to 60% of the Area Median Income. The
property will also include underground parking, a fitness center, and a community room
for residents. The building will meet the highest EarthCraft environmental certification.
Families are expected to move into the building in mid-2018.
By touring public work initiatives, it serves as an indication to the voters – more importantly, the underprivileged that will be served by the project – that his legislative initiative extends further than the halls of the Capitol building. Furthermore, Gary C. Jacobson, author of The Politics of Congressional Elections, asserts, “At the most basic level, people hesitate to vote for candidates they know nothing at all about” (Jacobson, 2013, 130). Therefore, the mear action of visiting a construction site of a project allows the voters to have a clear view of Representative Beyers actions, and allows the media to document and project his doings. The act of virtue signaling to his base could have a positive impact on future election and further support for his actions.
A combination of the assertions of Gary C. Jacobson and Daniel Selovich indicate that public knowledge of your doings can help inform the judgment of voters, and, as indicated previously, prove to potentially be a powerful tool in campaigning for reelection.
To conclude, the path towards success of Representative Beyers potential legislative agenda lies in his ability to inform the judgment of his constituent and entice them to join his camp by providing a solid voting record, while continually attempting to work across the aisle to secure a better future for his district and the nation. The success and caring of voters is paramount, and Representative Beyers voting record and trend as a legislator indicate his total resolve for his district.