Freshman House members compete for office space

WASHINGTON - Rep.-elect Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz., refused to let office space get in the way of what really mattered to her Friday: the looming fiscal cliff.

"It is an honor to be in Congress. Where your office is doesn't matter," Sinema said.
New members of the House of Representatives capped off two weeks of orientation with the House office lottery. In alphabetical order, each freshman or an aide drew a number out of a box to determine in which order they would select offices.

Rep.-elect Julia Brownlee D-Calif., hit the jackpot with No. 1. Afterward the freshmen scattered about the Cannon and Longworth House Office Buildings, scouting out offices, observing those  they might not get and thinking about the ones they may have to settle for.

Cannon is the oldest of the three congressional office buildings,  and most members tried their best to avoid its fifth floor because of its distance from the Capitol. They also avoided the option of split suites, so aides won't have to walk down the hall or through the member's office to get from one place to another.

Out of the 70 freshmen choosing offices in the lottery, Sinema drew No.  47.  She chose office No. 1237 in the Longworth building. While most new members were concerned about having a nice view and square footage, Sinema was hoping for an office that was accessible and easy for constituents to find.

"I am very excited about my selection. The Capitol and the three office buildings in the House can be kind of overwhelming and confusing. You can get lost easy. The nice thing about Longworth is its shaped pretty easy, and you don't get lost like you do in Cannon. I wanted an office as low to the ground as possible so that it would fast and convenient," Sinema said.

When she is sworn in Jan. 3, she said her first order of business is getting her office organized. Afterward she will focus on policy and providing relief for constituents who are suffering from the mortgage crisis. Arizona ranks first in the nation in home foreclosures.

"These are hardworking, good people who have done their best and are suffering right now. So I want to make sure that we're helping create jobs so they can take care of their families and keep their homes," she said.

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