We are a republic. For it to work, you need to hold your representatives accountable and demand transparency from the local level all the way up to the President.  That’s being a citizen.

Executive Branch

EXECUTIVE ORDERS (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Executive Orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies. However, in many instances they have been used to guide agencies in directions contrary to congressional intent.

Executive Orders do not require Congressional approval to take effect but they have the same legal weight as laws passed by Congress.

Source: The President’s source of authority to issue Executive Orders can be found in the Constitution.

Examples: Harry Truman integrated the armed forces under Executive Order. President Eisenhower used an EO to desegregate schools. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson used them to bar racial discrimination in federal housing, hiring, and contracting. President Reagan used an EO to bar the use of federal funds for advocating abortion. President Bill Clinton reversed this order.

How to challenge EOs? If Congress does not like what the executive branch is doing, it has two main options. First, it may rewrite or amend a previous law, or spell it out in greater detail how the Executive Branch must act. Of course, the President has the right to veto the bill if he disagrees with it, so, in practice, a 2/3 majority if often required to override an Executive Order.

In addition to congressional recourse, Executive Orders can be challenged in court, usually on the grounds that the Order deviates from “congressional intent” or exceeds the President’s constitutional powers.

Legislative Branch

Voteocracy has an easy-to-follow, succinct description of how Congress works.

Every state has two senators. You also have one representative in the House based on your district. To know your Senators, district name and number, and Congressmember go here.

The Congress, in general, passes laws — keep up to date on which laws they are passing when. They are supposed to act in your best interest and only you can hold them accountable.

The Senate roll call vote tallies are posted online within an hour of the vote.  You can view today’s votes or use the vote tables to look at any roll call vote taken since the 101st Congress (1989).

The House roll call vote tallies are posted online directly following the vote.  You can view votes from this Congress or use the archives to look at any roll call vote taken since the 101st Congress, 2nd session (1990).

Local Government

What does an Assembly District Delegate (ADD) do?

A video (from the progressives but the explanation of what an ADD does is spot-on)

Officially, ADDs plan and attend informational meetings throughout the region and work with other delegates to represent their community.

They are also elected by voters in their district to vote on behalf of the community they represent at Regional Meetings, the California Democrats Convention, and those who are also elected to serve as an Executive Board member are responsible for voting and representing their community at the semi-annual E-Board meetings.

A delegate cannot put forth legislation but where a delegate stands on issues is critical because she can vote on the party’s platform and vet the candidate pool from which voters ultimately choose.

Bottom line: One vote for me means numerous votes for the progressive agenda and candidates .

How many delegates are voted in?

You have one vote for one delegate. The Assembly District Election Meetings (ADEMs) are held every two years (Saturday, January 7 or Sunday, January 8 of 2017) to elect 7 women and 7 men to be Assembly District Delegates (ADDs) for their area.

It’s time for these elections to be taken more seriously and for us to participate at this level so when it comes time for the positions on the national level, we have all the pieces in place.