Super Tuesday and Civic Engagement

If you’re as plugged-in to federal affairs as we are, then you probably already know today is Super Tuesday. As Americans vote for their preferred Presidential candidate, it’s important to remember that voting is only a small part of civic engagement. This calls to mind the variety of ways we can participate in the process. One easy way to express your ideas is contacting your local legislator. Many representatives welcome constituents’ opinions. W. R. Poage was one such congressman.

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Congressman Poage believed in open communication with his constituents and often invited their input. In this excerpt from one of his 1953 newsletters, Poage encourages citizens to meet him throughout the district and promises to listen to their concerns. The congressman sent many of these newsletters with the goal of keeping constituents informed of government activity in Washington.  In these letters, he provided schedules, results of committee meetings, updates on pieces of legislation, and general news from the nation’s capital.

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Many constituents sent the congressman letters asking for his help. In this handwritten letter, also from 1953, a supporter outlines an argument that asks for the congressman’s intervention. His response, sent through future congressman Marvin Leath, assures the constituent of his continued support for rural programs. This communication summarizes the ongoing dialogue between citizens and their elected officials. At Baylor Collections of Political Materials, we encourage research exploring this intersection of citizens and the government.

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