By Cassidy Quinn Brettler– 1/21/09

Today, I met a lot of senators and representatives… Correction: I
met a lot of the P.R. people for senators and representatives. 
Actually, I’ll be honest – I met their secretaries.

My colleague Jeff Young and I were sent out on a mission to hunt
down seven senators and three congressional members at the Capitol.
Once we tracked them down, we were then supposed to ask each of them
about a specific issue in America that relates to President Obama’s
recent inauguration, such as race relations, the Cuban embargo lift,
and the closing of Guantanomo Bay.

However, our assignment proved to be much more difficult than we
initially thought. After walking from the Metro stop in the 6 degree
weather (although it was sunny outside, which made it look better at
least) and going through security at the building’s entrance, we found
ourselves in the Russell Senate Office Building. We found the
locations of all the senators’ offices on a touch screen reader board
in the lobby of the building. So, we began our quest of seeking out
the senators in the Russell Building.

Our first task was to find Senator Ted Kennedy’s office to see if
his P.R. person had a statement about his health. The latest we had
heard was that he was supposed to be released from the hospital at
some point today, but we had not yet heard any updates. Kennedy’s
secretary was very nice, and called the P.R. person for us, but the
P.R. person just told us that there was nothing to release at this
time. So, we were told to keep calling back and we would eventually
get more information when there was some to release.

So we moved onto the other senators in the same building: Mel
Martinez and Jeff Sessions. We found it surprisingly easy to find
their offices, but finding the actual senators was easier said than
done. Their secretaries told us that the senators were very busy today
because it was President Obama’s first day in office, and that we
could leave our business card and they would contact us if they had
any time to meet with us later.

We then headed outside, and the next Senate Building we found was
Dirksen, so we went in there in hopes of finding the new Illinois
Senator Roland Burris to ask him about how race relations in America
may change now that President Obama has been inaugurated. However,
Senator Burris was, of course, busy at the time, and so was his P.R.
person. So, we left his office and headed to the next building.

The next stop was the Hart Senate Office Building. Here we were
hoping to find Senators Russ Feingold, Bill Nelson, and Harry Reid. We
did end up being able to talk to Senator Feingold’s P.R. person, but
he told us that Feingold has a strict policy that only he talks to
members of the press, so his P.R. person could not offer us any
answers. Senators Nelson and Reid also, of course, turned out to be
busy at the time, so they could not speak to us either.

We then visited the House Office Buildings, in search of William
Delahunt, Jesse Jackson Jr., and Maxine Waters. Once again, all of
them turned out to be busy, but, once again, I left a business card
with them.

Throughout the long trek through the offices of the Capitol, we
called Ted Kennedy’s P.R. person back many times. However, he just
kept telling us that he had no further information. Finally, when our
cold faces were just about ready to give up, we dialed his number one
last time. He told us that Senator Kennedy had been released from the
hospital, and that his doctor had advised him to get a lot of

So, in the end, our hunt for senators and congressmen was extremely
unsuccessful – and cold. But, then again, a bunch of senators and
congressional members’ offices have my business card… So maybe that
will come in handy some day?