Niki Tsongas

Flatware gets its day in NDAA
House amendment would require Defense Department to buy from domestic manufacturers

Rep. Anthony Brindisi’s amendment is aimed at a flatware manufacturer in his upstate New York district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House slogs through more than 400 amendments to the annual Pentagon policy bill, debate has centered on the deployment of U.S. troops to the southern border, a potential ban on some lower-yield nuclear weapons, war authorizations and … flatware.

Yes, flatware. Cutlery. Knives and forks and spoons. One of the 439 amendments put forth would require the Defense Department to buy “stainless steel flatware” and “dinner ware” from domestic, rather than foreign, manufacturers.

Trahan brings Uber skills to drive change in Congress
Massachusetts Democrat pushes for diversity in Congress, nation

Massachusetts Rep. Lori Trahan brought to Congress her experiences from both the business and political worlds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lori Trahan felt a rush of nerves as she accepted her first fare as an Uber driver. Seeking to find out why the ride-hailing service lacked female drivers, the then-consultant found herself about to let a total stranger into her car. A new, potentially unknown location popped up for her to drive to, with little time to adjust and a waiting passenger in the back seat.

“There’s definitely that first-time hurdle where you hit the accept and you’re driving to pick up someone new and there’s an adrenaline and there’s an anxiety that goes along with that,” said Trahan, now the congresswoman from Massachusetts’ 3rd District. “The second you get over that, it’s unbelievable that after you do it once so much of that hesitation and that reticence, it just melts away.”

Pelosi Opponent Moulton Stares Down Potential Primary Challenge
Massachusetts state senator mulls opposing him in 2020

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., has antagonized some progressive groups with his opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton positioned himself as a chief antagonist to Nancy Pelosi when he joined with other Democrats to oppose her bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel — rankling party leadership and progressive organizations.

But Moulton might soon be facing down a different kind of political rival: a primary opponent.

5 Not-So-Newbies to Watch on Election Day
These midterm candidates were once congressional staffers

If Young Kim comes to Capitol Hill, it will be a homecoming of sorts. She worked for California Rep. Ed Royce for years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s no secret that those who come to Capitol Hill to work behind the scenes may have political aspirations of their own.

Dozens of current lawmakers were congressional staffers in a previous life. (We feature them once a month in Roll Call’s Staffer News.)

Lori Trahan Wins Democratic Primary in Massachusetts’ 3rd District
Opponent Daniel Koh conceded after recount for Niki Tsongas’ open seat

Lori Trahan is the apparent winner of the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 3rd District after a recount. (Courtesy Lori Trahan for Congress)

Lori Trahan, a onetime aide to former Rep. Martin T. Meehan, is poised to go to Congress from Massachusetts’ heavily Democratic 3rd District after winning the Democratic primary in a recount Monday.

Trahan had a 139-vote advantage when second-place finisher Daniel Koh conceded to her hours before a 5 p.m. deadline.

Daniel Koh Filing for Recount in Tight Race for Tsongas’ Seat
Front-runner Lori Trahan claimed victory in crowded primary for rare open MA-03 seat

Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., is retiring from her 3rd District seat, but the primary to determine the Democrat who could replace her is headed for a recount. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Daniel Koh, a former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, filed for a recount Friday in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 3rd District, according to a media report.

“We want the process to progress as swiftly as possible so that the ultimate nominee will have adequate time and resources to win in November,” the Koh campaign said in a statement to the Boston Herald.

Massachusetts Primary for Tsongas Seat Too Close to Call
Lori Trahan, Daniel Koh find themselves in a nail-biter

Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., is retiring and a crowded field of 10 Democrats jostled to succeed her. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The race to replace Massachusetts Democrat Niki Tsongas remained too close to call Wednesday morning, with just 52 votes separating the top two candidates in the 3rd District Democratic primary. 

With all precincts counted, Lori Trahan led Daniel Koh, 18,368 votes to 18,316, according to The Associated Press. 

Massachusetts Democrats Strain to Stand Out in Rare Open-Seat Race
Many share similar policy positions in contest to replace Rep. Niki Tsongas

Democrats running for Massachusetts’ open 3rd District seat include, clockwise from top left, Rufus Gifford, Daniel Koh, Lori Trahan, state Rep. Juana Matias, state Sen. Barbara L’Italien and Alexandra Chandler. (Courtesy Zach Nolin (Gifford), Dan Koh for Congress, Lori Trahan for Congress, Juana Matias for Congress, L’Italien for Congress and Alexandra Chandler for Congress)

Voters in north-central Massachusetts will cast ballots Tuesday in one of the cycle’s most crowded primaries. Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas is retiring after five full terms, creating a free-for-all for the 3rd District, the state’s only open seat this year.

The ten Democrats running include the first openly transgender person to run for Congress in Massachusetts, two candidates who immigrated to the United States as children, and a former ambassador whose experience as a gay diplomat was chronicled in a Danish television documentary. Winning the primary would be tantamount to victory in the heavily Democratic seat that Hillary Clinton carried by 23 points in 2016. 

Tsongas and Turner Want VA to Answer for Sexual Assault Survivors Report
Internal watchdog report says roughly half of all benefit claims were incorrectly processed

Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, sent a letter criticizing the Veterans Benefits Administration after an inspector general’s report revealed mishandling of sexual assault cases. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The bipartisan co-chairs of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus want the Veterans Benefits Administration to answer for a recent report showing negligence.

A report released last week from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Inspector General found the VBA incorrectly processed 1,300 of 2,700 benefit claims related to sexual assault between April and September 2017.

Tsongas May Be Leaving, But Work on Sexual Assault Is Never Done
‘I’m more afraid of my own soldiers than I am of the enemy,’ nurse told her

From left, Reps. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., and Mike Turner, R-Ohio, announce bipartisan legislation to combat sexual assaults in the military in 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eleven years ago, the #MeToo movement wasn’t trending and sexual assault was a taboo subject. Yet Rep. Niki Tsongas was confronted with it twice during her first weeks in Congress.

The first was at an Armed Services Committee hearing, in which generals outlined the Pentagon’s efforts to combat sexual assault. “I have to say I was completely taken aback that it was such an issue that we had generals up there seriously trying to deal with it,” Tsongas said.