What if state governments invested in permanent residences in the Washington, D.C. area to be occupied temporarily by their senators and representatives?
The White House is owned by the federal government and is used temporarily by the succession of presidents. Why not the same thing for state governments for their members of Congress?
Doing so would negate somewhat the present process in which Joe Blow gets elected, buys a house in suburban Virginia or Maryland, moves his family there, puts down roots and becomes a frequent flyer to visit the folks who used to be his friends and neighbors “back home.”
Not perfect but it’s a step
Over time, some state homes in Washington would become famous by virtue of the men and women who temporarily occupied them.
By not having to buy a house in Washington, the tendency of senators and representatives to put down roots in the wrong place would be lessened.
And state homes would emphasize the reality that senators and representatives are sent to Washington to represent people with familiar problems and concerns.
It’s not a perfect solution, but at least it addresses a problem that is rarely discussed — how to encourage political leaders to remain dependent upon the people who sent them to the nation’s capital.
This observer’s observation: The idea sounds even better if the state’s “permanent residences” are low-grade apartments that no member of Congress would want to occupy beyond the time required to conduct their regular sessions.