Politics

A Father Drops Off His Son for Congress’ Freshman Orientation

Andy Levin, who will succeed his father in the House, was one of dozens of new members in Washington to learn the ropes

Members-elect from left, Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Colin Allred, D-Texas, and Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., arrive for New Member Orientation at the Courtyard Marriott in Southeast Washington on Nov. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retiring Rep. Sander M. Levin drove away from the Courtyard Marriott in Southeast Washington, leaving his son on the curb in front of the hotel.

It was a true first day of school moment for Michigan Rep.-elect Andy Levin, who will be succeeding his father. As the Democrat made his way into the lobby around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the official orientation for new members of Congress was just getting started.

Checking in was the first task of the week. It also offered a moment to see old friends or make some new ones.

When Colin Allred, who beat Republican incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions to represent Texas’ 32rd District, was registering at the front of the hotel, he spotted Lauren Underwood. She defeated GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren to represent Illinois’ 14th District.

After a round of hugs, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey walked up. “How are you guys? So exciting,” she said.

Other newly elected members echoed the sentiment.

Hugs, Luggage and Getting Dropped Off By Dad: New Members Arrive For Orientation

“We’re all very excited to take part in making history,” Democrat Susan Wild said of herself and the four other women elected this cycle to represent Pennsylvania. They’re breaking up the state’s all-male delegation.

Tennessee Republican Tim Burchett took some time to have fun with the media.

“I haven’t been on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” he joked, referencing his colleague-to-be Dan Crenshaw. The Texas Republican, who lost his eye while serving as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan, appeared on the show this week after comedian Pete Davidson joked about his eye patch.

The orientation gives newly elected House members their first taste of what life will be like on Capitol Hill, from interacting with media to hiring staff.

“Today we’re just going to get our feet wet,” California Democrat Mike Levin told the media.

Republican Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania described what getting his feet wet means for him. “We need to understand the rules,” he said. “Hey, the more information the better.”

Some members-elect arrived on Monday, or earlier, for various events.

Before 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Sharice Davids of Kansas were spotted hugging and chatting in a Starbucks line in the hotel lobby.

Ocasio-Cortez didn’t just spend the morning sipping coffee. She also swung by a sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s office with the Young Turks on Tuesday morning.

Back at the hotel, Iowa Democrat Cindy Axne greeted Susie Lee in the lobby. “It’s good to see you here and not at a fundraiser!” Well, “at least for a few weeks,” she added. “We’ll be back fundraising in December.”

A heavy police presence surrounded the hotel, and officers stood guard inside as well. Guests were told they the hotel was closing for a private event at 11 a.m. so there was no extended checkout or storage for guests beyond then.

An officer stood at the door and asked for identification as aides walked in to meet their bosses. Reporters were stationed right outside the entrance and went through a security sweep.

Katherine Tully-McManus and Thomas McKinless contributed to this report.Correction 2:05 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misidentified Rep.-elect Cindy Axne’s party affiliation.

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