Mike Chowla
Washington DC:

US Capitol

We ended up spending more time at the Capitol that originally planned. Like most Americans, I think Congress is doing lousy job. However, there's quite a bit to see at the capitol. To access the House and Senate Galleries, you need a pass available from your Congress person's office. I'd never visited a Congressional office before and doing so was a great experience. The staff showed us around the office and cheerfully answered our questions about how Congressional offices operate.

One of the most interesting parts of the visit was looking at the statues each state provides. Each state gets two statues and the people picked for that honor say much about that state. California's statues are Ronald Reagan and Junipero Serra. California really should replace the Serra statue as the abuses against the natives against during the mission period should preclude such an honor. I'd like see statue of Edmund G. “Pat” Brown replace Serra as California's current prosperity and outlook owes a huge debt to Brown's foresight and vision.

While the Capitol building is historic and worth visiting, it also feels mired in the past. I'd like to see the number of representatives increased by a factor of 2 to 4x. The founders never intended a Member of Congress to represent 700,000 people. George Washington thought the constitution should specify one representative for every 30,000 people. That ratio is not be practical in a country of 300M people but we could certainly have more House members than we do today. The current cap was set in the 1920s. To house a larger House, I propose a new modern Congressional building with architecture that looks towards the future rather than the past. The Senate which is very attached to its traditions could stay in the current Capitol building. While I know this is quite unlikely to happen in my lifetime, I still hope our government finds ways to be more forward looking.