Idaho Congressman-elect Raul Labrador, after a week of new member orientation in Washington, D.C., pronounced the experience “amazing.” “I just felt the entire week like it was such a privilege to be there, and I was just in awe that the people of Idaho had given me that privilege,” Labrador said in an interview. His orientation started with a dinner with all the newly elected Republicans in the historic Statuary Hall; Labrador was joined by his wife, Becca.
New members also drew numbers for priority in choosing their office space, and though Labrador drew a low number - 78 out of 85 - he said he actually got an office in the Longworth Building that was among his top five choices. “I like the building - it’s kind of smaller offices, but a lot of history. They have beautiful wood paneling and things like that,” he said. “But I would’ve been happy with a closet.” He added, “Especially coming from the state Legislature - I had a cubicle.”
He and his wife arrived two days early to take a look at neighborhoods in Washington, “trying to figure out if we’re going to move our family there, keep our family here - we’re making some pretty big decisions about our life,” Labrador said. “Also trying to decide, if I’m going to be there by myself, where I’m going to live during the week.” For now, Labrador said he’ll commute to Washington and return to Idaho and his family on weekends; he’ll decide next summer whether to move them. Four of his five children are still in school, while the oldest is at Utah State University. “It’s a tough decision,” he said. “Our kids are very heavily involved in sports and school activities, they have great friends, they’re good kids, and obviously that’s to me more important than anything else I do is my family and my children. So I don’t want to do anything to hurt them.”
Labrador released an op-ed piece about his experience at the orientation, in which he said, “I was thrilled to find that most of my new colleagues are as serious as I am about reversing the direction that Congress has pursued the last two years;” you can read it here. He noted that of the 94 new House members, 85 are Republicans and 34 have never held elected office before.