Heard on the Hill

Rep.-elect Kihuen Goes Office Hunting

HoH tags along with incoming Nevada Democrat as members of the Class of 2016 choose their offices

Massachusetts Rep. William Keating gives Rep.-elect Ruben Kihuen of Nevada a tour of his office on Thursday. The office used to be John F. Kennedy’s when he was first elected to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nevada Democrat Ruben Kihuen pulled the middle-of-the-road No. 30 chip, making him the 30th of the 56 new House members to choose a new office.

Kihuen picked 313 Cannon, for the next two years at least, on Thursday afternoon.

When he went up to see his new digs, he met his temporary neighbor, Massachusetts Democratic Rep. William Keating, who is moving to another space. Keating’s office was the same one that former President John F. Kennedy occupied when he was first elected to Congress.

When Kiheun popped in to say hello, Keating invited him in for a 15-minute tour, showing him JFK photographs on the wall and a bunch of autographed baseballs in a display cabinet.

Keating points to photos of President John F. Kennedy on his office wall. Kihuen selected the office, located next door to Keating’s current office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Keating points to photos of President John F. Kennedy on his office wall. Kihuen selected the office, located next door to Keating’s current office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Following the room lottery draw, members-elect walked around the Cannon and Longworth House office buildings to check out the spaces. They were all given a list of open offices in the two buildings before they made picks later in the day.

Heard on the Hill went on the search with Kihuen and two of his staffers, which felt a lot like choosing an apartment, especially for a member working so far from home.

Kihuen was concerned about proximity to the gym. He said he worked out daily in order to stay fit and focused. He also mentioned wanting to be close to the cafeteria and, of course, the usual concern of being able to get to the Capitol quickly for votes.

The search began on the first floor of Longworth at a well-located, large office that everyone seemed to like. But Rep.-elect Lou Correa walked up just as Kihuen was leaving.

The California Democrat was the lucky winner of the No. 1 chip from the lottery, and the prime first-floor space was his choice.

Correa and Kihuen fist-bumped and laughed about someone with a lower number wanting such a good choice.

Correa said he liked the office because it was easy to get to the gym.

California Rep.-elect <a class="memberLink" title="Click to view member info in a new window" href="http://data.rollcall.com/members/97931?rel=memberLink" target="_blank">Lou Correa</a>, left, gives Kihuen a fist-bump in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
California Rep.-elect Lou Correa, left, gives Kihuen a fist-bump in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

So, the search continued to the fifth floor of Longworth to the office of New York Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, who is moving to another space.

“I’m so lost,” Kihuen said, as his two staffers looked around to take in the amount of space in each section.

Cannon was the next stop and on the walk there, members-elect were overheard asking one another how the lottery went for them. The Architect of the Capitol provided maps for everyone and staffers were camped out at various locations getting their bearings.

On the first floor of Cannon, Kihuen stumbled into an empty office that turned out to be fellow Nevadan Joe Heck’s. The three-term Republican congressman gave up his seat to run for retiring Sen. Harry Reid’s seat, but lost to Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.

Kihuen takes photos of his new office in the Cannon House Office Building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Kihuen takes photos of his new office in the Cannon House Office Building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The office was not available, but the staffers searched it to see what a space in Cannon was like.

After taking a tour of a few other Cannon offices, Kihuen decided he liked the building’s setup. (A few hours later, he settled on a third-floor office.) His staffers cautioned him about the ongoing construction in Cannon, but he said he was not too concerned.

“I’m just happy to be here, man,” he said.

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