Young Democrats Reap Benefits of Work
They call themselves the "30-Something Working Group," a loose collection of House Democrats in their 30s and 40s who have begun making waves.
During the campaign season, the group took to the floor of the House nightly to give speeches during a period known as special orders, when lawmakers are permitted to speak for up to an hour about any topic after the day's business is complete.
The core of the group -- Reps. Kendrick Meek and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Timothy J. Ryan of Ohio -- began talking at 10 or 11 p.m. Never mind that the House chamber was essentially empty at that hour. C-SPAN was recording the sessions, and insomniacs around the country got to know the three young Democrats. The trio sometimes used props and took irreverent jabs at the Republicans in honing their party's message.
One common thread that set the young representatives apart from longtime party stalwarts was a hunger and a determination to take control of Congress, several younger members said.
"The 'old bulls' have been in the minority for 12 years, and all of them recognize what landed us in the minority and that a new working order is necessary and is in the works," said Rep. Stephanie Herseth, a sophomore lawmaker from South Dakota.
Almost two-thirds of the Democratic veterans in the House have known only life under GOP rule. "They stopped believing it was possible," Wasserman Schultz said. "If you keep losing election cycle after election cycle, it wears you down. We were able to restore some of their belief. They needed our energy and our intensity."
Monday, December 11, 2006
"In New Congress, Seniority Takes Back Seat to Spirit"