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Policy Briefings: Freshman Congress

10 Members of the giant freshman class of 2010 share their experiences of an eventful 2011 and look ahead to what they expect in 2012.

Adams: The Great Divide — the Lack of Progress When One Chamber Refuses to Govern

If there is one thing I have learned in my first year in Congress, it is how deeply divided and dysfunctional Congress truly is. Before coming to Washington, D.C., to represent Florida’s 24th district, I spent eight years in the Florida House of Representatives where I worked with Members on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that was in the best interests of all Floridians.

Blumenthal: Year Shaped by Desire to Reach Across Aisle, Protect Troops in Harm’s Way

From the first moment in this job — my swearing-in just more than a year ago — I have been awed and inspired by the amazing opportunity to represent the people of Connecticut in the U.S. Senate. This sense of excitement and responsibility drives me to move our state and country forward — despite deep, indeed destructive, partisan divisions.

Cicilline: Congress Needs to Start Working to Put the American People Back to Work

When I decided to run for Congress in 2010, I began my campaign with the conviction that no issue was more important than putting men and women across Rhode Island back to work.

Lankford: Congress Is Frustrating, Humbling, Intimidating and Absolutely Essential

Two years ago, when I started my run for Congress, a friend asked me, “Why would you want to run for Congress? It is the worst job in the world. You spend half your life away from your family, people who do not even know you attack your motives, your family has no private life and you work hard to accomplish little.”

Meehan: If We Want to Fix Our Transportation System, We Must Fix Our Government

Americans rightly decry the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., but I’d bet they curse the traffic gridlock across the country even more. I think federal lawmakers can and should address both.

Ross: A Year in D.C. Teaches That Things Need to Change in the Nation’s Capital

All new arrivals in Washington, D.C., hear the phrase not long after they arrive: “You will learn how things work in Washington.” Then we go home and hear, “Washington doesn’t work.”

Scott: More Lessons Were Learned From Constituents Than From Washington

My first year representing the beautiful 1st district of South Carolina has certainly been an interesting one. The House Republican freshman class, which I am proud to be a part of, has worked hard to change the culture of spending in Washington, D.C., and to restore a sense of fiscal sanity.

Sewell: Constituent Service Involves Listening, and Then Doing Something to Help

My first year in Congress was an amazing journey, full of battles that sometimes yielded victory and other times frustration. It was a year filled with political gridlock, triumphs for the 7th district of Alabama and unimaginable tragedy. However, I am optimistic for a 2012 where Members of Congress will make a better effort to work together, collaborate and make progress toward improving the lives of the American people.

Walsh: Finding Enough Hours in the Workday Is a Difficult Task

I pledged to not serve more than three terms, and I came to Washington, D.C., to change the way this town does business. So, on Jan. 3, 2011, I jumped right into my new job with both feet. I quickly realized, however, that time is everything.

Wilson: Congress Should Focus on Jobs and the Safety of the Young and Vulnerable

Since coming to Congress, my top priority has been to find ways to save and create jobs in our community and throughout the nation. It is clear that now is the time to work with the president to find solutions that will get our local governments back on track, fostering a sustained economic recovery.

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