Members of Congress have plenty of people giving them advice, both solicited and not. Senior staffers, constituents, pollsters and pundits all have ideas about what elected officials should do.
But the source of counsel that lawmakers are most likely to follow: their mothers. In honor of Mother’s Day (which mom-loving Congress established back in 1914), we asked Members what was the best advice they have ever gotten from their moms.
“She told me that when people don’t have enough backbone, sometimes you’ve got to put a broomstick up their back to give them some backbone. I remember we were taking a tough vote, and I brought a dowel rod with me to a meeting — I didn’t have an actual broomstick — and I told that story and said, ‘Mr. Leader, I can get as many of these as you need.’ It’s become a joke among my colleagues.”
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)
“If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything. Live long, and you’ll outlast all your enemies, and that’s the greatest revenge.”
“She taught me everything about dealing with people, and her best advice was that you can always get a lot more out of folks if you give them a smile. It’s been perfect advice for what we do around here.”
“My mom was the den mother for our Cub Scouts, and we had meetings in our basement. Her best advice was to get involved and make a difference, and she pushed us to do that. It’s served as a good mantra in this job.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.