Heard on the Hill

Members Covered a Lot of Ground Over Recess

How lawmakers spent their summer vacation

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy proved again that he can be on his feet for a long time.

The Connecticut Democrat covered about 25 to 30 miles a day in his walk across his home state during Congress' annual August recess, setting off on Aug. 29.

“It’s certainly not an original idea,” he said, citing other politicians who made similar treks. Sen. Lamar Alexander walked across Tennessee when he was running for governor there in 1978.

Other members also hit the road to explore their states while others spent time sharing secret talents.

[Gary Peters Finds Strength Along 8 Mile]

Sen. Gary Peters rode his motorcycle across Michigan, while fellow Democrat Cory Booker went on a road trip to every county in New Jersey. 

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake stopped by “Good Morning Arizona” to show off his cooking skills, apron and all. The senator whipped up his mother’s recipe for a traditional cowboy breakfast of gravy and biscuits. “You leave the grease, unless you’re a Democrat,” he joked after cooking bacon and sausage.

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher repurposed his friend’s recreational vehicle and drove it across the country. The hook: He was joined by his 12-year-old triplets, two girls and a boy.

And, former Speaker John A. Boehner took an RV out on the open road in Ohio. He posted a video of himself enjoying his never-ending recess.

[John Boehner’s Parting Gift for GOP 'Knuckleheads': Re-Election]

Meanwhile, Murphy was couch hopping at friends' homes and with his in-laws.

The walk was "a way to meet people and see places that I never get to see,” Murphy said on the phone from Madison, Connecticut, just as his cousin was pulling over in his car to say hello. Several Nutmeg State drivers stopped to greet the senator during his walk. 

He recalled talking to gun owners in the eastern portion of his state.

“A lot of them were firmly of the opinion that I was out to take their guns. It didn’t take long for us to get on the same page, but I had a lot of people in eastern Connecticut who wanted to talk about their opinions, which weren’t always positive,” he said.

[Filibuster Over, Senate Will Take Up Two Gun-Control Measures]

He also encountered a Donald Trump supporter who owns a private breakfast club in Norwich. While Murphy was a state legislator, he authored a bill to ban smoking in restaurants.

“He was partly angry at me for passing a law to ban smoking in his diner,” Murphy said. “But, partly grateful that I allowed [smoking] to continue for his patrons, admittedly through a loophole.”

“My feet are pretty angry at me right now,” Murphy said two days into his walk. “Many people on my staff thought this was a pretty terrible idea and they swore that when they presented me with the mileage I’d have to do, that I would abandon it.”

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.