The Freshmen

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Fifty-two first timers. The Freshman Class of Congress. Wandering unfamiliar hallways in the capital’s corridors of power, navigating a maze of buildings and ethics rules. Vying for admission to the best committees, Transportation, Armed Services, Ways and Means.

Figuring out who their friends are, who their friends ought to be. For the newly elected men and women of the 108th Congress, December is a prelude to the trial by fire in January. There are offices to move into. Staffs to hire. Manuals thick as doorstops to study. Lessons on budgets and protocol meant to smooth their transition into a whole new level of public service. A bootcamp, of sorts, for beginners.

Two new representatives take us inside politics and public service.


Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, Democrat of Maryland

Congressman Max Burns, Republican of Georgia

Congressman Ed Schrock, Republican of Virginia, and president of the Freshman class in the 107th Congress