The Washington Times - February 14, 2011, 12:17PM

Senator Mark Kirk’s new seating assignment in the Senate chamber is sweet— literally.

The Illinois Republican has been chosen for the historic “Candy Desk,” an honor that includes the weighty responsibility of handing out sugary sweets to his colleagues.


The Candy Desk has been a Senate tradition since former Sen. George Murphy joined the Senate in 1965.

The California Republican, a candy lover, kept sweets in his desk that he regularly offered to his Senate colleagues, prompting them to nickname Murphy’s desk the Candy Desk.

Kirk said he will provide Illinois-made candies to the Senate at his expense.

“Holding the Senate Candy Desk provides me an opportunity to promote employment among Illinois candy makers,” said Kirk. “Chicagoland is the center of this industry with over 3,400 jobs represented by the participating Illinois companies.”

The tradition of the Candy Desk — located in the back area of the Republican side and close to the chamber’s most heavily used entrance — continued after Murphy left the Senate in 1971.

In the ensuing years, Republican senators who have fulfilled this roll have included John McCain and Paul Fannin of Arizona, Harrison Schmitt of New Mexico, Roger Jepsen of Iowa, Steve Symms and Craig Thomas of Idaho, Slade Gorton of Washington state, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Bob Bennett of Utah, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, George Voinovich of Ohio and Mel Martinez and George LeMieux of Florida.