Eleanor Van Buren

Tim Ryan was once a star quarterback, with Congress as his backup
Ohio Democrat recalls how he got his start on Capitol Hill

Rep. Tim Ryan “caught the bug” for Congress first as a summer intern in 1994 and then as a staff assistant the following year for a fellow Ohioan, the late and colorful Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

He recalls meeting Traficant during his senior year in high school, when Ryan was the star quarterback of his team. The two bonded over their football experiences. Ryan was recruited to play for Youngstown State, but an injury cut short his college football career. 

John Yarmuth went from Roll Call pinup to Budget chairman
Kentucky Democrat started on the Hill as a staff replacement for Mitch McConnell

John Yarmuth got his start on Capitol Hill in 1971 after another young future lawmaker — Mitch McConnell — called and asked him to take his slot on the staff of their home-state senator, Kentucky’s Marlow Cook.

Now a Democratic congressman who represents Louisville, Yarmuth spoke to Roll Call recently about his early days as a Rockefeller Republican and his experience as an April Fools’ pinup for our publication.

Member lapel pins out, necklaces in, say women in Congress
Fashion sense, practicality cited as reasons for growing trend

While big jewelry and bold statement chains made headlines last week during New York Fashion Week, an increasing number of women in the House are starting a fashion trend of their own: wearing their member pins as a necklace pendant.

Traditionally, the House member pin, given out to lawmakers to distinguish them from staffers and visitors, is worn pierced through fabric as its menswear name suggests — on a suit lapel. While members are not required to wear them, the pins can be an easy way for the Capitol Police to identify the freshman class of lawmakers each Congress — or perhaps some of the more obscure members of the House.

Cherokee Nation prepares vote on its first congressional delegate
The tribe’s newly elected principal chief, Chuck Hoskin Jr., has named Kim Teehee as the potential delegate

The Council of the Cherokee Nation is expected to endorse its first ever delegate to Congress when the tribal nation’s governing body meets on Thursday.

The tribe’s newly elected principal chief, Chuck Hoskin Jr., has named Kim Teehee as the potential delegate, a position the tribe says will honor United States treaty obligations that precede Oklahoma statehood in 1907 — when Cherokees became state citizens.

Andy Kim is paying his pen pal forward
New Jersey Democrat recalls lessons from ex-boss and foreign policy giant Richard Lugar

New Jersey Democrat Andy Kim learned a lot of what he knows about governing from two of his mentors — the late Republican Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and the late Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in the 2012 Benghazi attack.

One started out as a pen pal, the other as an officemate. And after stints at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the State Department and the Pentagon, those lessons still come in handy for Kim, one of 23 House freshmen under the age of 40. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar lays out 100 actions for first 100 days if she wins White House
Minnesota Democrat would undo Trump actions on environment, go further than Obama on wages

Laying out 100 actions she would take in the first 100 days if she were elected president, Sen. Amy Klobuchar pledged Tuesday to reverse President Donald Trump’s rollback of environmental agreements and regulations and go further than former President Barack Obama in battling high drug prices and raising federal contractors’ wages.

“On day one, we will get back into the International Climate Change Agreement and restore the Clean Power Plan and work to bring back the gas mileage standards. Those are things you can do without passing a law,” Klobuchar said at the National Press Club.

Sen. Ron Wyden has a surprise prediction for the Portland Trail Blazers
Enes Kanter could be the series X factor, Wyden says

Last time Heard on the Hill caught up with Sen. Ron Wyden, the 2016 NBA Finals were underway. Asked which team would take home the championship that year, the Oregonian ran with his fellow West Coasters, the Golden State Warriors, over the Cleveland Cavaliers. (LeBron, however, had other plans.)

Now, as the 2019 Western Conference finals tip off Tuesday night in Oakland, the longtime Portland Trail Blazers fan has a more black-and-red choice of a champion.

Members of Congress are rich with student debt
Reauthorization of Higher Education Act could affect repayment, affordability

As lawmakers look to reshape the federal loan process in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, a cohort knows firsthand the pain of rising college costs — 68 members, or 13 percent of Congress, reported that either they or their family members are mired in student debt.

Collectively, the 44 Democrats and 24 Republicans have higher education liabilities of $2.5 million, according to recent financial disclosures. The median student loan debt is $15,000, while average debt is $37,000.