Raul Ruiz

For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Keep an eye peeled for these House members with plum new committee assignments, from left to right, first row: Pete Aguilar, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Katherine M. Clark, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo; second row: Suzan DelBene, Debbie Dingell, Brian Higgins, John Moolenaar, Grace Meng; third row: Dan Newhouse, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Raul Ruiz, David Schweikert; fourth row: Terri A. Sewell, Scott Taylor, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski and Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark, Meredith Dake-O’Connor and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos. Scott Taylor courtesy Scott Taylor for U.S. Congress)

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.

Roll Call’s 55th Annual Game
Congressional Baseball Gallery Series

California Rep. Raul Ruiz kisses the trophy after the Democrats won the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington on June 11, 2015. The Democrats beat the Republicans 5-2. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans might control both chambers of Congress but Democrats have owned the Congressional Baseball Game for the past seven years. In this particular game of hardball, Republicans and Democrats from both chambers team up to settle scores and solidify friendships off the floor and on the field and to raise money for D.C. area charities.  

[ Congressional Baseball Gallery Series ]  

California Ballot Lets Incumbents Define Themselves
And most have no problem highlighting their ties to Congress

Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley uses the very specific "Ventura County Congresswoman” as her description on the California ballot. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

   

With congressional job approval hovering in the low teens, giving incumbents the opportunity to choose three words to describe themselves, and to refer to their current office, might seem like asking them to choose the words for their tombstone. But it’s a biennial tradition for the California delegation.