- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 3, 2002

The process of moving 193 House offices is under way on Capitol Hill, with some lawmakers snagging better offices for this term and at least one office giving up a prime view of the Capitol.
"We are quite the sad bunch," said Wesley Denton, spokesman for Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, who is giving up an office in the Rayburn building that has an "incredible" view of the Capitol building.
On Thursday, Mr. Wilson's group will move to an office in the Cannon building. "I'm enjoying one of my last views of the Capitol," Mr. Denton said yesterday. "We're not excited about leaving."
Mr. Wilson came to Congress halfway through a congressional term in Dec. 2001 to replace 16-term Rep. Floyd D. Spence, who died in August 2001. Because of the unique situation, Mr. Wilson simply moved into Mr. Floyd's office.
But when the congressional office lottery came around this year, Mr. Wilson had to give up the office and pick a number, like everyone else. The lottery process works by seniority, with House members who have served the longest choosing numbers and picking their offices first and each subsequent "class" of lawmakers following. Many chose to stay in their current offices, but some wanted a change.
Eleven-term Rep. Ralph M. Hall, Texas Democrat, snagged Mr. Wilson's old office and a coveted view of the Capitol dome after about a 20-year wait.
"We have a lot of constituents who come by the office, and now we'll be able to take pictures with the constituents and [Mr. Hall] with the Capitol in the background," said Mr. Hall's chief of staff, Janet Poppleton.
Both Mr. Hall and Mr. Wilson's aides are packed and ready for moving day, working with just the essentials this week. Both offices even packed up the printing paper and ran into problems when copies had to be made.
Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican, wanted a little more space for his employees and will be moving from Longworth to Rayburn.
"We pick up a little extra elbow room," he said, noting that he is dealing with more legislation now, more committee work and "a few more demands." He has been a House member since 1992.
Rep. Bob Ney, Ohio Republican, chairs the House Administration Committee, which helps facilitate the moving process along with the House Superintendent's Office and the Chief Administration Office.
Mr. Ney called it a "flawless, seamless operation" that House officials have "down to a science."
Brian Walsh, Mr. Ney's spokesman, said they are trying to facilitate about 10 moves per day and that each office has a move coordinator who works with House officials to work out details.
The office of Rep. Bill Jenkins, Tennessee Republican, was one of 10 that moved yesterday. Brenda Otterson, his chief of staff, spoke to The Washington Times in the middle of the move and said the administration office and other coordinating offices "did remarkable work" in ensuring a smooth move.
Freshmen members of the House will be the last to move into their new offices, likely in early January.
Incoming House member Timothy H. Bishop, New York Democrat, lucked out by picking No. 5 out of 53 freshman members and snagging his top choice: a first-floor office in the Longworth building.
Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, was not so lucky. He picked No. 35 and chose an office on the fourth floor of the Longworth building, said Afshin Mohamadi, spokesman for the Van Hollen campaign. But that did not dampen his spirits.
"Chris and probably many other freshman are just happy to have an office, period," Mr. Mohamadi said.
Even though moving boxes of files and equipment can be tough, aides and lawmakers agreed on one positive aspect. "It also is a good opportunity to clean out your desk and get rid of some of the junk," Mr. Kingston said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide