Writing:Introductory sentence for Congress

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Main article: Congress Project writing guidelines

This page is a content-and-style guide about how to write an introductory sentence for articles about Congress.
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The introductory sentence is key in highlighting key facts about the page. This may include: district in which an officeholder serves, political party, state, counties within a congressional district, etc. Below are specific guidelines for members, districts and committees of Congress.

Profiles of members of Congress

The introductory sentence should highlight the officeholder's name (nickname if applicable), birth date and birthplace (in parentheses after name), political party, congressional office in which they serve (U.S. House or U.S. Senate) and the specific district in which they serve.

Sentences should then follow detailing the first election to the office and the most re-election. Following the introductory paragraph, several more sentences should generally be included. These sentences should detail future election plans (running for re-election/retirement), beginnings of political career if different from first congressional election, and any important details/issues/controversies for which the member is best known.

The introductory section should end with a general statement about the incumbent which can be derived from the analysis section. That statement can be generated with the use of this template:

{{Introanalysis
|Party=
|Rating=
|Pronoun=
|Fullname=
|Lastname=
}}

Parameters are explained below:

{{Introanalysis
|Party= (Republican or Democratic)
|Rating= (Reliable, Average, or Center)
|Pronoun= (he or she... make sure to use lower case)
|Fullname= (The exact page name of the incumbent)
|Lastname= (The incumbent's last name)
}}

And here is a filled in example:

{{Introanalysis
|Party=Republican
|Rating=Average
|Pronoun=he
|Fullname=Jo Bonner
|Lastname=Bonner
}}

which displays as follows:

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Bonner is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.

Full example

First sentence= Name (b. Date, in City, State) is a Party member of the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate representing DISTRICT. Last name was first elected to the CHAMBER in YEAR and is currently serving his/her NUMBER consecutive term, having recently won re-election on DATE. Any exciting facts about current position or ambitions (presidential, considered for VP, etc).

2014 info: Last name is set (or isn't) to run for re-election in DISTRICT (link to district's 2014 election page) and will likely face ___CANDIDATE___ in the general election (if applicable) on November 4, 2014 (insert link to Congress elections 2014 page).

One sentence about former political positions or professional history.

Any news busting items about the person.

Analysis sentence.

Example: (Michele Bachmann):

Michele Marie Bachmann (b. April 6, 1956, in Waterloo, Iowa) is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Minnesota's 6th Congressional District. Bachmann was first elected to the House in 2006[1] and is currently serving her fourth consecutive term, having recently won re-election on November 6, 2012 by a narrow margin of 1.2%.[2] She ran in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, but dropped out of the race on January 4, 2012 after finishing in sixth place in the Iowa caucuses. She received only 5 percent of the vote in her home state of Iowa.[3]
Bachmann is set to run for re-election in 2014, and will likely face a rematch against her 2012 Democratic challenger Jim Graves in the general election on November 4, 2014.
Bachmann began her political career as a Minnesota state senator in 2001 and remained a state senator until her successful 2006 congressional bid.
Bachmann gained national attention in 2010 during the Tea Party rallies. In July 2010, she founded the Tea Party Caucus for which she remains the chairman.[4]
A divisive figure for her outspoken conservative views, Bachmann is currently under an FBI investigation for misuse of campaign funds during her unsuccessful 2012 presidential bid.[5]

Profiles of congressional districts

The introductory sentence should highlight the region of the state in which the district resides, counties that fall within the district's jurisdiction and the current representative of that particular district.

Example (South Carolina's 5th Congressional District):

The 5th Congressional District of South Carolina is a congressional district in northern South Carolina bordering North Carolina. It includes all of Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Marlboro, Newberry and York counties and parts of Florence, Lee and Sumter counties.

The current representative of the 5th Congressional District is Mick Mulvaney.

Profiles of congressional district elections

Example: Washington's 2nd Congressional District elections, 2012

The first sentence should follow this format: "The 2nd Congressional District of Washington will hold an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012."

Next, the introductory section for congressional district election pages uses the Template:Congintro2012:

{{Congintro2012
|Filing deadline=
|Primary date=
|Primary=
|Voter registration=
|State=
|Incumbent=
}}

Explanation of components

Filing deadline: The state's filing deadline for candidates

Primary date: The state's primary date

Primary: "STATE has a closed primary/open primary/blanket primary system, in which [INSERT BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF PRIMARY TYPE (See below)]."

Voter registration: "Voters must/had to register to vote in the primary by DATE. For the general election, the voter registration deadline is DATE.[6]"

State: STATE

Incumbent: "Heading into the election the incumbent is [[INCUMBENT]] (R/D), who was first elected to the House in 2000. (S)he is/is not running for re-election in 2012."

Brief descriptions of primary types

  • A closed primary is one in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members.
  • An open primary is one in which any registered voter can choose which party's primary to vote in, without having to be a member of that party.
  • A blanket primary is one in which voters pick one candidate for each office, without regard to party.

Profiles of committees

The introductory sentence should highlight whether the committee is part of the U.S. House, U.S. Senate or a joint congressional committee. Additionally, you may add information relating to the history of the committee, such as the date it was created.

Example (United States House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture):

The United States House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture is a standing committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The committee was created on May 3, 1820. At the time there were 213 total House representatives and a country population of 9 million.

Profiles of federal office holders

The introductory sentence should highlight the office holder's name (nickname if applicable), birth date and place, current position in which they serve and their confirmation vote results. Following the basic details, there should be a one sentence summation of the most notable achievement/controversy if applicable. Additional information about confirmation, appointment, and prior offices can be listed in a short paragraph following the opening.

Example (John Kerry):

John Kerry (b. December 11, 1943, in Aurora, Colorado) is the current U.S. Secretary of State of America. Kerry was confirmed by the Senate on January 29, 2013, by a vote of 94-3. Kerry then resigned his seat in the U.S. Senate. He served as a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from 1985-2013, representing Massachusetts.

Profiles of federal departments

The introductory sentence should highlight the department's name (distinguishing initials, if applicable), the year formed and the purpose of the department or agency. Following the initial sentence, the introduction section should cover the first head of the department or agency, the current head and their confirmation date. A second paragraph should cover the total employment numbers and notable agencies operating within the organization.

Example (U.S. Department of Justice)

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is a United States executive department formed in 1789 to assist the president and cabinet in matters concerning the law and to prosecute Supreme Court cases for the federal government. Edmund Randolph was the first attorney general appointed by President Washington in 1789. The current attorney general is Eric Holder, who was confirmed by the Senate on February 2, 2009.
The Department of Justice currently employs 114,347 people both in the U.S. and abroad. Among the agencies overseen by the Department are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Prisons and Interpol Washington.

See also

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