Tea Party to Washington: 'Pain Should Be Shared by Everyone'


"It's much bigger than the Tea Party," Grimm said. "The Tea Party seems to be the face of the average American that's not involved in politics. They want us to work together. A one-party system doesn't work."

Paul said he had spoken with President Obama in person to express his desire to work together and was even working on arranging a meeting between their daughters.

"I told him that from one who is seen as being associated with the Tea Party, I want to make sure he knows that I want a civil discourse," Paul said.

"We are all human beings first," said Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind. "I'm a conservative, but I'm not mad about it. I can do it with a smile on my face."

One member who did claim the Tea Party label was Hartzler.

"It's just common sense," she said. "It's the way we should be."

When pressed by Sawyer about the anger shown during the recent midterm elections, much of it aimed at former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the group maintained it wasn't personal.

"On a personal level, I'll be happy to go out to lunch with her and chat," Brooks said. "But we're going to fight pretty hard when it comes down to some of the basic beliefs that we have, whether we're going to be socialists, for example, or believe in the free enterprise system."

Turning to Lee, Sawyer pressed again: "Senator, there was a sense everyone had come to storm the castle."

"I couldn't disagree more," Lee said. "The idea behind the Tea Party movement is neither partisan nor is it angry."

Creating a Legacy on a Time Limit

Whether these new members survive the next election cycle remains to be seen. Not a single one, however, said they expect to be in Congress 10 years from now, a remarkable statement given Congress's ability, with all its power and perks, to make a career politician out of just about anyone.

"We're here for a finite period to represent what the people want us to do," Guinta said. "We're not here to do anything for ourselves, but for the country."

"This will be the legacy of the Tea Party movement: Not protesting, but problem solving," Lee said. "That's what the Tea Party movement is about. That's why we're here."

"I think Republicans were given a second chance, but I don't think we're going to be given a third," Rep.-elect Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, said. "And I'm worried what happens in the next two years if we don't get something done."

At least one member, Gosar, said he is so committed to not getting too comfortable in Washington, he has forgone renting an apartment or buying a house for sleeping on a blow-up mattress in his office.

Each freshman also revealed their plan to stay grounded and remember what they see as their mission in Congress:

Hartzler plans to call her daughter every day.

Guinta said he will push to spend as much time as possible at home in his district listening to his constituents.

Brooks said he will live by the phrase, "Do what is right and let the consequences follow."

Grimm plans to wear his Marine Corps pin to remember those in harm's way.

Gosar said he plans to remain teachable, namely about any topic not related to dentistry, that which has been his thriving discipline over the past 25 years.

Huelskamp said he will lean into his faith and remain close to his distinct and their needs, and Tipton said he will do the same.

Stutzman said he plans to check in with his Dad regularly to ask how he's doing.

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