Freshman Class of Congress Begins Orientation

Nearly half of the new Republicans have never served in government.

ByABC News
November 13, 2010, 10:36 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2010— -- Lawmakers return to Washington this week to begin a lame duck-session of Congress, but before they convene, the new freshman class will have already met for their orientation. The Tea Party also held meetings of their own, exclusively for new conservatives joining the Republican caucus.

Some freshmen entering the House and Senate will replace members of Congress with a wealth of experience, but many eager newbies say they believe they will bring a fresh outlook that will help them make decisions on how to legislate.

"I've never run for political office before. And I think that set of experiences is relevant for what Americans are looking for today," said Mike Pompeo, a Kansas Republican who spent the past 15 years working in manufacturing.

The freshman class is one of the largest Washington has seen in years, with at least 85 new members joining the GOP in the House.

Nearly half of the new Republicans have never served in government. Among them there are six doctors, three car dealers, two funeral directors, an airline pilot and a pizza restaurant owner.

There will be seven new women in the House when Congress convenes next year. Also, joining the GOP ranks will be two blacks, including Tim Scott of South Carolina.

"It's amazing, to tell you the truth. We have a lot of business owners in this class, which I think is fantastic," Scott said while attending a pre-orientation event held by Tea Party backer Freedom Works.

Earlier this week, a couple dozen incoming members of the GOP were invited by Freedom Works to attend a two-day retreat, away from Washington, in Baltimore. The event provided the new members with intensive training on how to stay true to their conservative campaigns.