Today: Jun 25, 2024

New Congressman orientation kicking off


Sarah Green

Staff Writer

It is New Congressman Orientation time in Washington, D.C. and the veteran members of Congress are attempting to do half the job that Southern’s NSO staff does. Many of the members-to-be are struggling to figure things out on their own, however. They are faced with simple tasks like finding affordable housing and learning to manage a congressional office’s budget.

Lucky for the representatives-to-be, Republican Eric Cantor compiled a how-to book entitled Hit the Ground Running to help them set up their offices and learn some of the more mundane details of the job. This booklet is actually an update of the version distributed by Dick Armey, a former Republican House leader.

On top of learning the ropes in D.C., the incoming congressmen have a fairly busy social calendar. Between welcome dinners and receptions, the newbies have been attending various sessions on the aspects of life as a congressman. Some members have admitted that this is all a little overwhelming.

Bobby Schilling (R), the representative-elect for the 17th district in Illinois said that he will likely sleep in his new office until he finds a roommate and a place to live.

For now, talking about the issues is taking a back seat to figuring out the location of the bathrooms and to deciding whether to commute or live within walking distance of the Capitol.

Interested in following these new members of the 112th U.S. Congress? Two new representatives – Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from the 3rd district of Utah, and Jared Polis, a Democrat from the 2nd district of Colorado will be reporting to CNN on their own “First Year Experience.” Their reports are sure to be filled with interesting details about congressional life.

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