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Science Pub Corvallis

Does Congressional Outreach Matter? Race, Legislative Output and the Views of the Voters


Christopher Stout

Associate Professor, School of Public Policy

With growing political polarization, increased use of the filibuster and continuing squabbling among legislators in Congress, it is difficult for bills to survive the legislative process. As a result, many Members of Congress are relying on public communication outreach to demonstrate that they are working on the behalf of their constituents. However, it is important to ask whether this matters? In this talk, I will review the findings from my book manuscript Black Voices in the Halls of Power to answer how identity shapes the communication strategies of U.S. House Representatives, whether this is “cheap talk” or if legislators actually follow through with their rhetoric with action, and finally whether this matters to voters. I answer this question through the analysis of hundreds of thousands of press releases and tweets from this period, interviews with communication directors, legislative activity including bill sponsorship, co-sponsorship, and committee hearing transcripts, survey data, and social science experiments. Through looking at racial rhetorical representation from different angles, circumstances, and through the views of both congressional offices and the voters, I hope to provide a comprehensive understanding of the growing significance of political communication in a divided America.

Register for this free event, for both the in-person and online viewing options.

Wednesday, March 6 at 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Old World Deli
341 SW 2nd St., Corvallis, 97333

Event Type

Lecture or Presentation

Event Topic

Diversity/Equity/Inclusion, Research, Engagement


Community Members, Faculty and Staff, Student





School of Public Policy, University Events
Contact Name

Shelly Signs

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