Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Californian wins the lottery...for a Congressional office

Before they get to sit here, freshman members of Congress have to figure out where they'll work the rest of the time. That's where the office lottery comes in.
Before they get to sit here, freshman members of Congress have to figure out where they'll work the rest of the time. That's where the office lottery comes in. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Capitol Hill, this is the day the new crop of freshmen enters a lottery that determines where they’ll work. A Californian got the top opportunity to choose offices.

There's a superstition about dancing when it comes to influencing the luck of the draw in the office lottery. Redding Freshman Republican Doug LaMalfa threw caution to the wind and danced a Michael Jackson moonwalk for luck as he picked his number:  34 out of 70. Democrat Eric Swalwell of Dublin brought his own soundtrack: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." He drew number 61.

Ventura Democrat Julia Brownley was the first to try dancing - a reluctant swaying to and fro. She won the office lotter and became the first Congressional freshman to choose an office. She wants one in the oldest and grandest House office building. "I seem to like the Cannon building just because of its historical features, I guess."

Brownley says that when she was in the California legislature, the Assembly speaker assigned offices. She says the Congressional process is more fair.

Did Brownley buy a Powerball ticket the other day, too? "I wish I had," she laughed.

One freshman who drew one of the lowest numbers put the best face on it, saying, “there are no bad offices when you’re lucky enough to be here in Congress.”

 

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