Hill Talk: Recognizing a Historic Committee

Posted July 21, 2008 at 6:15pm

Members of Congress are not the only ones who deserve recognition for their work as legislators.

The United States Capitol Historical Society will host a reception and dinner to honor both Members and staff of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee tonight in the Russell Senate Office Building.

While the 23 Senators on the committee are all invited, the event gives equal recognition to the Senators’ chiefs of staff and key committee staff members who often receive little acknowledgment.

“It’s like giving a big hug to the people who don’t usually get it for their work as legislators,” U.S. Capitol Historical Society Director of Corporate Giving Marilyn Lee Green said. “I cannot tell you how emotional some of these people get because they have never been honored.”

This year’s honoree was one of the first standing committees established by the U.S. Senate in 1816. The committee has jurisdiction over highways, cell phones, air travel, weather satellites, climate change and the Coast Guard and contains seven subcommittees.

Former Senate Majority Whip Wendell Ford (D-Ky.) will serve as keynote speaker for this year’s event. Ford was the longest-serving Senator from the state of Kentucky and served on the Commerce Committee, even chairing several of its subcommittees.

The event will also include a presentation of the colors and the national anthem by the Capitol Police, as well as remarks by committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and ranking member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Although 200 to 250 people typically attend the annual dinners, only 120 guests — including 11 Senators on the committee — are expected this year.

In addition to the honorees, members of the Capitol community who have given $5,000-$25,000 to support the historical society’s educational programs were invited to attend.

The reception will begin in the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Room in Russell 253 at 5 p.m. before moving to the Senate Caucus Room in Russell 325 for dinner at 6 p.m. The event is invitation-only and is expected to conclude around 8 p.m.