The freshman class for the 114th Congress. Click on photo to enlarge. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Just after 8 a.m. on Tuesday, 58 new members of Congress participated in an orientation rite of passage: the class photo.
With the temperature below freezing, the freshmen hustled up the steps at the East Front of the Capitol, a number of them in winter coats, but quite a few braving the cold in just their suits. Republican Glenn Grothman casually walked up in his suit with a cup of coffee in hand, the frigid air likely not phasing the Wisconsin member-elect.
The freshman members, who have spent the past week getting acquainted with each other and their congressional duties, happily greeted one another. After first standing in formation with their coats on, the final hold-outs decided to shed their winter wear for the photo.
Most of the women in the class lined up in the first row, and friendships seemed to already be forming. As Rep.-elect Mia Love came over to the front row, fellow Republican Martha E. McSally, whose Arizona race is currently in a recount, exclaimed, “Yay!” and put her arm around Love.
The members were set and faced the photographer, eager to get the show on the road, when Democratic Del.-elect Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands exclaimed, “Wait a minute, wait a minute!” as she fixed her collar. Her fellow freshmen took the slight delay in stride, laughing as she made sure she was ready.
After the official photo, they turned toward the press, who snapped their own pictures. After a couple minutes, Rep.-elect Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., was heard saying, “OK, are we done?”
The members then quickly walked back to their coats to warm up.
“It should be cold every year,” one congressional staffer was overheard saying. “It doesn’t usually get done that quickly.”
The newly elected members then bustled off to the House office buildings, bound for more meetings and briefings.
“Oh yeah, we had a lot of fun up there,” said Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., before walking off to see who accidentally took his coat.
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