“I get a lot more advice on issues than most people do,” he said, laughing. “When we have family meetings, I get a lot of input.”
In addition to legislative advice, children have a lot to give their parents, the Members said.
“You learn so much from having six kids,” Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) said. “You learn how to deal with different personalities, different needs, how to budget your time and multitask.”
Congressional parents have a lot to offer their children, too. With tickets to swearing-in ceremonies and countless Capitol events, Members’ children receive a front-row seat to learn the ins and outs of government. Many find their children and grandchildren internships and jobs in Washington. Six of Rep. Buck McKeon’s (R-Calif.) 31 grandchildren have served as pages, and one is serving this summer in the Capitol.
Herger and Akin mentioned bringing their daughters to the White House Christmas Ball. Very close to her 16th birthday, Akin’s daughter Abigail got a coveted ticket to the ball — and while there, a kiss from the president.
Akin’s sons were even luckier. Perry, his second oldest, met his wife when she was working as a staff assistant in Akin’s office. Ezra, his youngest son, realized Perry’s wife had a younger sister working in Akin’s campaign office — and the two married earlier this year.
Whatever the perks for child or parent, every Member said politics and lawmaking took a backseat to the most important aspect of their lives: their children.
“I really have accomplished an awful lot of things in my life, and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” Buerkle said. “But my six kids are my greatest accomplishment. I’m so proud of them.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.