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First Person Political: Legislative Life and the Meaning of Public Service / Edition 1

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Overview

In First Person Political, Grant Reeher combats the public's alienation from and distrust of politicians by putting a personal face on everyday political life. Through moving personal interviews, Reeher allows legislators to tell their own stories about how and why they came to politics, the experience of serving in their state legislature, their decisions to stay or leave, and the many trials they face in the name of public service. Reeher contends that these politicians do have the public good in mind and often suffer great personal losses for their chance to represent the people and fight for what they think is right. His research also shows that those who choose to run for office often come from a background of deep community involvement.

Reeher argues against public cynicism about our elected officials, and his profiles stir not only our praise and respect for these legislators, but also a greater belief in the democratic process itself. The excerpts from his interviews provide a rarely afforded intimate look at these politicians. What emerges from these stories is a humane and believable portrait of public servants acting on behalf of the public good, a portrait that should provide some comfort, perhaps even inspiration, for citizens concerned about the state of American democracy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“At a time when public disillusionment with elected leaders and political institutions is increasing rapidly, it is refreshing to read a book that highlights the selfless nature of public service. . . . This is a wonderful read. The book realistically portrays the various stages in a legislator’s life and the challenges one faces while in office.”
-Perspectives on Politics

,

“An informative, sophisticated, and entertaining book. Reeher’s interviews with three sets of state lawmakers in three distinct legislatures provide candor, real food for thought, and wonderful insights. First Person Political stands as a real contribution to understanding legislative politics, the people who practice these politics, and how to gently nudge politicians to provide candid glimpses of their world.”
-Burdett Loomis,co-author of The Sound of Money: How Political Interest Groups Get What They Want

First Person Political fills an important void in our understanding of politicians and politics. Through a combination of surveys and the tools of the political scientist, Reeher provides for the reader both empathy and insight into what makes politicians tick at the state legislative level. We may not like what our state legislators do, but reading this work will help us understand much better who we elect and the constraints that operate on them.”
-Thomas J. Volgy,author of Politics in the Trenches: Citizens, Politicians, and the Fate of Democracy

First Person Political illuminates why people run for and serve in state legislatures from the standpoint of the legislators themselves and in a way that increases our appreciation of representative democracy. Part of the charm of this book is that it is intensely personal and, therefore, compelling.”
-Karl Kurtz,co-author of Republic on Trial: The Case for Representative Democracy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814775769
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Grant Reeher is associate professor of political science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is the co-author of Click on Democracy: The Internet’s Power to Change Political Apathy into Civic Action.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction : the sickness unto politics 1
2 Arriving 25
3 Serving 61
4 Staying and going 107
5 Falling down and standing up 139
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