Welcome to Congress, Where Even the Orientation Is Partisan

Illinois voters elected six new men and women to the U.S. House of Representatives at this month’s election — one-third of the delegation. The freshmen were in Washington last week for orientation sessions. Brian Mackey has more.

Rodney Davis is familiar with Congress. He spent years as a staffer before winning a seat of his own this November. But he says he was still surprised by one aspect of the new-member orientation.

DAVIS: “There wasn’t as much bipartisan time. They split us off too much between Republicans and Democrats.”

Or, more specifically, Republican and Democrats — Davis is the lone Republican among the Illinois freshmen. He’s from Taylorville, and represents a district that stretches across Central Illinois. Davis says he spent some time talking to fellow incoming representatives Cheri Bustos, Tammy Duckworth, Brad Schneider, Bill Enyart and Bill Foster. But …

DAVIS: “I wish we had the chance to spend more time together, because I think that would foster more bipartisanship, especially during an orientation period.”

Davis says he’s looking forward to working across the aisle with the new Democratic members of the Illinois delegation.

— Brian Mackey

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