Behind the Scenes: New Members of Congress Move to Washington

One hundred and eight newly-elected members of Congress from across the country converge on Capitol Hill this week, opening their offices, taking the oath, and assuming seats in their respective legislative chambers.

In the process, members of the freshman class leave behind an ecclectic mix of former day jobs -- and many of the comforts of home in their districts. So what's it like starting a new life in Washington?

ABC News partnered with a handful of members, Republicans and Democrats, to document their journeys and the emotional moments along the way. Here's a glimpse from inside the operations of several incoming members and their paths to power:

Rep.-Elect Frank Guinta

Frank Guinta, 40, is among the youngest newcomers to Congress. The former New Hampshire state rep and mayor of Manchester ousted two-term incumbent Carol Shea-Porter in November. He's promising to get tough on spending and has proposed more than 50 cuts to federal programs, from privatizing Amtrak to imposing a ban on earmarks.

But first, Guinta has had to juggle logistics surrounding a big move to the nation's capital, spending hours over the holidays packing up boxes and preparing to split time between two cities.

"I'm helping my dad get ready to go to Washington, D.C.," Guitna's daughter said, seated at his old desk. "This is my dad's whole office in Manchester, New Hampshire."

Sen. Chris Coons

Chris Coons, 47, was officially sworn in as the newest Democratic U.S. Senator from Delaware on Nov. 15. But with the official start of the new Congress, the former county executive who defeated Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell in the general election is likely to weild new influence as a member of the Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees.

Coons says one of the best perks of representing Delaware is close proximity to Washington. "I love riding the train, and I always meet new people," he said. "I get to come home most nights and be with my family."

But ask his daugher, Maggie, what most excites her about having a U.S. Senator as a dad, and she says its "this thingy that writes his name."

"It's called an autopen," whispered Coons.

Rep.-Elect Paul Gosar

Paul Gosar, 52, rides a wave of Tea Party support and an endorsement as a Republican "young gun" on his arrival in Washington from Arizona. Gosar, who was a dentist for 25 years, sold his practice to pursue politics. He says he's ready to take aim at wasteful government spending and do his part to repeal the health care reform law.

Over the holidays, the Gosar family left its snowy Arizona home, headed to Washington, D.C., and settled in to life in an apartment. Gosar gave ABC News a tour of the new place while his wife and children were sleeping.

Rep.-Elect Jaime Herrera Beutler

Voters in Washington State's third district chose Republican Jaime Herrera, 32, to represent them in the House. But Herrera belatedly took her husband's last name, Beutler, on the eve of her trip to Washington. The former state rep and senior legislative aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will sit on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Small Business Committees.

With cameras rolling, Herrera Beutler went on a cold, snowy road trip through 10 states over four days, ending her journey in Washington, D.C.

"It was kind of a blur," she said of the trek. "We're excited, though. I'm heading into the office for the very first day."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images