Fenno, Richard Francis Jr.

Fenno, Richard Francis Jr., 1926–2020, American political scientist, b. Winchester, Mass., Ph.D. Harvard, 1956. Fenno spent his entire career at the Univ. of Rochester (1957–2003), where he became a leading authority on the U.S. Congress and developed an outstanding political science department. In 1968 he was instrumental in creating the university's Washington semester, one of the first in the country to give credit for undergraduates for work for Congress. Fenno wrote about individuals who served in Congress, including Dan Quayle, Arlen Specter, and John Glenn, as well as on broader topics. His The Power of the Purse (1966) describes the appropriations process and committee interactions with the executive branch, and Congressmen in Committees (1973) is an analysis of the committee system and its internal conflicts. In his highly influential Home Style: House Members in Their Districts (1978), he identified what has become known as Fenno's paradox, the tendency of voters to mistrust the U.S. Congress in general but to have confidence in and generally reelect their own representative. Other works include Congress at the Grassroots: Representational Change in the South, 1970–1998 (2000), Going Home: Black Representatives and Their Constituents (2003), and The Challenge of Congressional Representation (2013).

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