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A User’s Guide to Democracy

Hi there,

Who’s ready to become smarter, more engaged and more empowered when it comes to Congress?

If you’ve signed up for this newsletter, hopefully your answer is …

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be your guide to the 116th Congress. We’re going to talk about who your representatives in Congress are, what it is they do, why they get gridlocked, how money influences lawmaking and a whole lot more.National politics can seem distant or complicated — but I promise, it’s pretty easy to follow once you know the basics.

I’m Cynthia, by the way, director of marketing at ProPublica. I’m also a culture writer, a Philly native and a former political reporter. But until I started working on this project, honestly, I was a little rusty on these subjects myself. That’s why I’m writing to you, instead of our investigative reporters and data nerds. Because I believe you shouldn’t have to be an expert to participate in our democracy. I learned this stuff — you can, too.

To help us both out, I tapped ProPublica’s reporters who cover Congress, PACs and lobbyists; asked them a ton of questions; and stripped down what I learned to the most essential parts. Then, to help you get good and familiar with what all this means for you and your community, I worked with our data team to personalize the emails you receive.

I’ll share these lessons with you, one email at at a time. Each one should take less than 10 minutes to get through. At the end of each email, I’m going to give you some homework to do over the next week: things you can do to be better informed and more engaged.

Before I go: We noticed you didn’t enter your congressional district, and we’d highly recommend reconsidering. You can look up your district here (please note: you’ll have to enter your email address again). If you don’t live in the U.S. or you don’t want to get customized information about your own lawmakers, you can select one of these members of Congress to learn more about:

See you soon,
Cynthia Gordy Giwa
Proud ProPublican