Have you ever considered telework’s potential to affect the US Congress? States are given seats in Congress according to their population, and the 2010 Census results are predicted to change the seat count for several states. Huge power shifts in the near future, but the subtle shift in voting control can’t go unnoticed.
Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Georgia are all possible candidates for another legislative seat when the census comes out in March. Some states, such as Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania may lose seats. Texas could take on up to three more. A lot of this has to do with baby boomers moving south, workers fleeing the industrial north, and certain natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. But telework is right in the mix.
Austin Kaus, at The Daily Republic, discusses how the growth of telecommuting residents might benefit South Dakota. Kaus says the US Census estimates South Dakota to have 804,000 residents, and much of this growth is because people are finding telecommuting jobs. Broadband access continues to spread as well. As a result, people can move back to areas previously void of employment.
Of course, in order for any change to happen in South Dakota, the state would need to grow its head count to 1.2 million. Not likely that South Dakota will manhandle Congress anytime soon. But as long as we’re looking for pro-telework reasons, I’d say there’s a real opportunity for forward thinking states to use telework to gain leverage in the future. Who knows? If telework starts swinging Presidential Elections, that stereotypical image sleepy telecommuters in sweatpants and slippers might get the dose of Photoshop it deserves.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Rural America and the Internet are changing our political frontier, be on the lookout for Eric Abrahamson’s upcoming book, “The New Pioneers.”