by Carl Tubbesing
Part of the NCSL state-federal mantra is that half the members of the U.S. Congress once served in a state legislature. That will remain essentially unchanged when the 111th Congress is sworn-in come January. And, with Senator Barrack Obama’s election yesterday, we’ll be able to add that 100 percent of the White House is held by a former state legislator. The last former state legislator elected President was Jimmy Carter, but he served in the Georgia Senate before NCSL’s founding in 1975. Our elections guru, Tim Storey, adds that Senator Obama is the first former member of NCSL to be elected President.
During the 110th Congress, 272 members of the House and Senate at one time had been state legislators, making former state legislators 50.6 percent of the total. Through retirements and election defeats, 28 of them will not be coming back in January. Twenty-four former state legislators will replace them, dropping their numbers slightly to 268, or 50.1 percent of the total.