It’s a treaty obligation almost 200 years unfulfilled, but that could be changing.
It’s a non-voting position, but could still have impact. From WaPo last month:
There’s a new delegate in town: Kimberly Teehee, a former Obama White House Native American adviser, who was nominated by the Cherokee Nation in 2019 to become the House’s seventh nonvoting member. If the House agrees to seat the delegate, the move would expand the size of the House of Representatives and fulfill a nearly 200-year-old treaty obligation with the Cherokee Nation.
Even though she won’t be able to vote, it’s not just symbolic.
Yet political science research shows that far from being symbolic members, delegates can make a difference in Congress. For example, they can be effective legislators, sponsoring and co-sponsoring bills to advance their agenda. They field staff, serve on committees, work within their party, and collaborate with other delegates.
Depending on party control, delegates vote in some procedural contexts on the House floor, although their vote doesn’t count if decisive. My own research has shown how delegates use tools like committee hearings, franking privileges (the ability to send mail for free), and member organizations to pursue strategic goals, lobby voting members, and serve as the sole elected voice for their constituents in the federal government — making a difference even without a vote.
Ms. Teehee has a law degree, and is a Democrat.
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