Awaiting transition, Rep. Steve Knight’s office no longer accepting constituent caseworkRyan Painter December 10, 2018 1 COMMENT
With three weeks remaining in his term as congressman, Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) will no longer be accepting constituent casework. His Santa Clarita office confirmed on Monday that constituent inquiries should instead be referred to Congresswoman-elect Katie Hill, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) or Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California).
Knight’s website has stated that the outgoing representative will cease to accept flag requests, process service academy nominations or act as a liaison between constituents and executive branch agencies.
The subheadings on Knight’s website — on which a user could formerly click to access these services — have been replaced instead with a conciliatory message.
“Thank you for reaching out,” it reads. “It has been an honor to represent you and your family in Congress. My term will conclude upon the close of the 115th Congress at the end of this year.”
While his Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and Antelope Valley offices will continue to answer phone calls for the remainder of his term, the phone line for Knight’s Washington D.C. office is no longer in use.
Knight has served in Congress since January 2015, when he succeeded long-time Republican incumbent Howard P. “Buck” McKeon. He was among a number of California Republicans ousted in the 2018 midterms, losing to Democratic challenger and former nonprofit executive Katie Hill by over eight points in what many have dubbed a “blue wave.”
A number of local residents have taken to social media to allege that, in refusing further casework, Knight has shirked on his responsibilities; however, his decision to cease constituent services falls in accord with that of many of the other ousted GOP representatives in California.
Unseated Reps. David Valadao (R-Bakersfield), Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) have all declined to accept new inquiries, their respective offices confirmed on Monday morning. Valadao and Walters will be referring constituents to the offices of Sens. Feinstein and Harris until their respective successors, TJ Cox and Katie Porter, assume office in January.
This cadre of representatives is referred to as “lame ducks,” meaning that although they still remain in office, their influence and prestige within Congress have been greatly attenuated by their November losses and their impending exits. This often limits the scope and viability of their policy agendas.
While many representatives have continued to attend House sessions on a pro forma basis during the lame duck period, Knight has not been in Congress since Nov.16. He was marked absent during votes on Nov. 27 and Nov. 30, according to official House roll call records.
Walters has also been absent since Nov.16, the House’s last session before its Thanksgiving recess. Rohrabacher, however, has continued to attend each session of Congress since his loss, including a key vote on the National Flood Insurance Program last Thursday.
In observance of the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, the House of Representatives did not hold any votes the week of Dec. 2. Legislators are due back on Capitol Hill this week, as Congress must pass a new appropriations bill in order to avoid an end-of-the-year government shutdown.
It is unknown whether Knight is to be expected back in the House before his term expires in January or whether he will participate in these votes. His office did not return the Proclaimer’s request for further comment on the representative’s schedule.
Ryan Painter covers government and politics for The Proclaimer. He has worked at the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the Daily Trojan and as a campaign staffer during 2018 midterm elections. A 2016 West Ranch graduate, Ryan studies Political Science and International Relations at USC. Find him on Twitter @ryan_pintor.