THE HILL: December 6, 2007
Like any new member, Rep.-elect Tim Walz (D-Minn.) is elated about coming to Congress and
changing the country for the better.
He also has a heavy heart.
Come January, when his congressional career begins, the time he has with his children, Hope, 5,
and Gus, 7 weeks, will fall drastically. His family, like those of many other freshmen, is not
moving to Washington.
Sen.-elect Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) wife, Sharla, is expecting the couple’s third child in January.
The family will keep a home in Montana and is searching for an apartment in Washington. Rep.-
elect Bill Sali (R-Idaho), the freshman class president, is also not planning to move his family
Walz and his wife, Gwen, will reassess the situation in May. “My daughter likes to hang out with
me and she probably won’t in a few years,” said the congressman, contemplating a bitter reality.
He is going through the same difficult decisions that most new members face coming to
Congress. But he and his classmates might land with a bigger bump than previous newcomers
because Democratic leaders such as Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and incoming Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) want to extend the congressional work week, making the
weekend commute for Walz and others less desirable.
“We’re going to work more than Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” Reid declared at a recent
Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
When Republicans came to power in 1994, they worked so hard in the first 100 days on then-
Speaker Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America that several members divorced before the
Congress let out.
This January, lawmakers could be setting themselves up for another family-unfriendly Congress
as Democrats try to contrast themselves with the Republican masters of what they called the
“To have the younger members up there four and five days a week is a disaster to their