Politics

Newly Elected House Members Arrive for Orientation

Monday marked the start of orientation for representatives elected on Nov. 8

Rep.-elect Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel for orientation. Rochester will be the first woman and African American to represent the state in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

New member orientation kicked off Monday in Washington. The traditional welcome program for newly elected members of Congress began with the freshman class checking in to the Capitol Hill Hotel.

Orientation continues through Wednesday, takes a break for Thanksgiving recess, and starts back up on Tuesday, Nov. 29 and runs through Thursday, Dec. 1.

Here's a look at some of the newly elected members arriving at the hotel.

Rep.-elect Brian Mast, R-Fla., is seen outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel on Monday, Nov. 14 -- the day freshman members checked in for orientation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep.-elect Brian Mast, R-Fla., is seen outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel on Monday, Nov. 14 -- the day freshman members checked in for orientation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mast lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, where he served in 2010 as a bomb disposal expert. The last improvised explosive device he found exploded. Mast said he wants to serve in Congress the same way he served in the Army: without regard for personal gain or sacrifice.

Rep.-elect Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., and Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., greet outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep.-elect Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., and Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., greet outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While many members-elect, especially of the same party, tend to already know one another, others begin making new friends during this first week in D.C. Barragan, above, is the former mayor of Hermosa Beach, Calif., and Kihuen was in the Nevada State Senate.

Rep.-elect David Kustoff, R-Tenn., arrives to the hotel with his wife. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep.-elect David Kustoff, R-Tenn., arrives to the hotel with his wife. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Spouses and children are invited to attend orientation as well, and many took advantage of that opportunity. Kustoff, seen above bringing luggage toward the hotel, previously led the Tennessee effort to elect George W. Bush for president in both 2000 and 2004, and worked for Republican from Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander's Senate bid in 2002.

Rep.-elect Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., talks with the media outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep.-elect Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., talks with the media outside of the Capitol Hill Hotel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cheney is one member who touched down at the airport knowing exactly what she was getting herself into. The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney was elected to the same House seat her father once held. She also served in the State Department and was a Fox News commentator.

Rep.-elect Al Lawson, D-Fla., who in the primary ousted 12-term incumbent Rep. Corrine Brown as she faces trial on a 22-count corruption indictment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep.-elect Al Lawson, D-Fla., ousted 12-term incumbent Rep. Corrine Brown in the primary as she faces trial on a 22-count corruption indictment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawson expands the list of former athletes in Congress. He tried out for three American Basketball Association teams and his alma mater, Florida A&M University, named its basketball gym after him.

[New Kids on the Block]

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Christ, now a Democrat., arrives to the Capitol Hill Hotel. He will represent the state's 13th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Christ, now a Democrat., arrives to the Capitol Hill Hotel. He will represent the state's 13th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Christ has been in politics since 1992, when he was elected to the Florida State Senate, but he only recently became a Democrat. In 2012, he moved away from the Republican Party and endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election.

Former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, returns to Washington Monday for new member orientation. She previously held the seat from 2011-2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, returns to Washington Monday for new member orientation. She previously held the seat from 2011-2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hanabusa is one of the members who is returning to orientation for another round. She was a congresswoman for two terms, but sought Hawaii's Democratic nomination for Senate in 2014 and lost to Sen. Brian Schatz. It appeared her career in Washington was over until 1st District Democratic Rep. Mark Takai died in July, creating an open seat. She simultaneously won a special election to serve out the remainder of Takai’s term.

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