To be an effective advocate, it is important that you understand the make-up of federal and state legislatures. Your message will be more powerful if it is presented to the person responsible for representing you, and who must answer to you in regular elections.
Bear in mind that most legislators and policy makers are anxious to provide effective solutions, and will value your perspective, especially on any timely issue. NAMI members can receive regular updates about upcoming events requiring immediate action.FIND YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL
Who Are My Representatives?
The legislative arm of government in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania General Assembly, consists of two houses. The upper house, the Senate, is comprised of 50 members, each of whom represents a distinct geographic district in the state with an average population of about 250,000. Senators serve four-year terms. The lower house, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, is made up of 203 geographic districts, which include about 60,000 people. Representatives are re-elected every two years. Both houses must act independently to approve a state budget or pass new legislation.
At the federal level, the U.S. Congress also consists of two houses. Two different Senators each represent voters across the state. They are re-elected every six years. Pennsylvania is divided into 18 congressional districts, each represented by a member of the House of Representatives. Representatives face re-election every two years. So every resident in Pennsylvania is represented by two Senators and one Representative.
To learn the name of your district and find your elected representatives, click here.
Many mental health care programs are administered at the county level. Most counties in southwestern Pennsylvania are governed by a board of three county commissioners (five in Indiana County) elected by the voters of their county every four years. The exception is Allegheny County, which is governed by a County Executive elected to a four-year term, and a 15-member County Council, 13 of whom represent distinct districts, with two elected at large, to represent of all the residents of Allegheny County. They are re-elected in staggered four-year terms.