Resources for Redistricting ahead of the 118th Congress
Every 10 years, using updated information from the latest census, the congressional map is redrawn. Particularly for staff who work in a district office, ensuring a smooth transition for both members and their constituents can be a heavy lift. Caseworkers must work quickly to transfer any ongoing work involving those constituents now in new districts because House ethics prohibits legislators from working on behalf of non-constituents. To help facilitate this process, the folks at the POPVOX Foundation have provided a suite of resources and learning opportunities specifically designed for caseworkers.
Caseworkers are the frontline workers of Congress and are too often overlooked by the policy-focused Beltway insiders. They provide essential access and support to constituents who are often facing complicated issues, such as a missing Social Security check, with a federal executive agency. Without assistance, navigating a maze of federal bureaucracy can be intimidating and difficult for many people.
Often this work, which can come on top of other district office responsibilities, is emotionally fraught and difficult. Deep bonds can form between caseworkers who are concerned about the outcome of certain requests and the constituents they serve. Add a dose of partisan politics, privacy concerns, varying priorities member to member, more than 700,000 people in the average U.S. House district, a short time frame between Election Day and the start of the new Congress on January 3, and the redistricting transition quickly becomes a complicated ordeal. That’s not even considering the burden of numerous seasonal holiday obligations and office gift-exchange drama.
Caseworkers dealing with redistricting should make use of Anne Meeker’s comprehensive “Navigating Redistricting” guide. Meeker, who served as a director of Constituent Services for Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), covers everything from working with constituent communications vendors, key questions lawmakers need to consider, ethics and even templates for various letters. Staff should also be sure to follow the guidelines and recommendations provided by the Office of the House Chief Administration Officer (note: this is an internal link for Hill staff).
- Event: Future Casework: envisioning the next decade of Congressional constituent services on Dec. 9, 2022. This event will cover everything from changing tech to the role of casework in oversight.
- POPVOX Foundation: tools for casework staff including office safety and workplace rights.
- CapitolStrong: mental health, workplace safety and other resources to support Hill staff in their important work.
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