Farenthold says that for him, "it's about going to where your voters are," whether to community events or appearing on Spanish radio and television programs.
"It's about being there or having people there," Farenthold says. "It's really important. I get 8-to-10-page reports a week from my field reps about where they went, who they talked to, and what was on people's minds. I don't know of a lot of offices that are as aggressive at that as we are."
Hahn represents the third-most-diverse district in the country and the least-white district of all those represented by white members of the House. California's 44th district is located in southern Los Angeles and includes the cities of Carson, Compton, and San Pedro. About 70 percent of Hahn's constituents are Latino, and 16 percent are black, while Asians and whites each only represent 6 percent of the district, according to 2013 Census data.
Hahn hails from a political family and is the daughter of Kenneth Hahn, famous in California politics as a leading civil-rights supporter. A longtime member of the Los Angeles City Council and County Board of Supervisors, he was nicknamed the "pothole politician" for his willingness to connect with individual voters and advocate for even the most minor of his constituents' needs.
Hahn has made it a point to carry on her father's style of public service, embodying his values as she provides services to her district, and focusing on issues that her constituents care about, especially education, immigration, jobs, and income inequality.
"I had this long-honored legacy of a white family who is very accepted in the African-American community, so I think I have a leg up in terms of trust and with my constituents believing me and knowing what my family history is," Hahn says. "We're seen as really being the champions of minorities in our district."
A key aspect of maintaining a strong relationship with her constituents is being both visible and accessible while providing direct benefits to her district. Part of that means coming home "every single weekend" and only heading back to the capital on Mondays.
"They know I'm not going to go to Washington, D.C., and stay there, getting into a bubble. They see me all the time," Hahn says. "They see me at church, they see me in the grocery store, they see me at Starbucks. They take those opportunities to tell me what they need or what they think."
Hahn and her staffers host workshops on financial literacy and home loans, help small businesses secure capital, and help file paperwork for DACA. Most of all, Hahn has worked with cities in her district to come up with other funds for large-scale public projects. In the last election, Hahn helped Compton Community College add a measure to the ballot to issue $100 million in bonds to upgrade its facilities. The measure passed with almost 80 percent approval. She is also working on similar ballot initiatives to raise funds for the cities of South Gate and Lynwood.
"That's what they want from me—they want to know that they can provide better services in their communities, better schools, more police and fire, better services on streets," Hahn says. "If I can help lend my political skill and influence to help them pass ballot measures, it will actually fund a lot of the services that are right now underfunded. That's a way I can be particularly helpful for my minority communities."