Growing wealth widens distance between lawmakers and constituents

Those days are long gone when regular, everyday people had a chance at becoming an elected official. Most often, our elected officials are pretty well connected. When they are no longer in office, they become even more well connected. This is a part of our democratic process that I do not care for. It is sad that the person that makes the most sense, understands the needs of the people the best, will probably never make it to Congress.

One day after his shift at the steel mill, Gary Myers drove home in his 10-year-old Pontiac and told his wife he was going to run for Congress.

The odds were long. At 34, ­Myers was the shift foreman at the “hot mill” of the Armco plant here. He had no political experience and little or no money, and he was a Republican in a district that tilted Democratic.

But standing in the dining room, still in his work clothes, he said he felt voters deserved a better choice.

Three years later, he won.

When Myers entered Congress, in 1975, it wasn’t nearly so unusual for a person with few assets besides a home to win and serve in Congress. Though lawmakers on Capitol Hill have long been more prosperous than other Americans, others of that time included a barber, a pipe fitter and a house painter. A handful had even organized into what was called the “Blue Collar Caucus.”

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