“Washington has not changed me,” Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador declared today as he launched his bid for a second term in Congress. Here's evidence: The freshman congressman hasn't found himself a home to rent in Washington, D.C. while he's there - he's sleeping on his office couch instead, and returning to Idaho and his family each weekend. “I commute every week,” Labrador said. Asked how that's going, he said, “Planes are not my favorite thing - that's really the only tough part.”
Labrador is not alone among congressmen in choosing to bunk in his congressional office while in the nation's capitol. “There's people who have been doing it for over 10 years,” he said. Last year, Politico reported that retiring Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, slept on the couch of his Capitol Hill office for 17 years and nine months; he told Politico then, “I always figured I’d lose someday, but it’d never be because I’d gone D.C. and forgotten who I worked for.”
Labrador and his wife, Becca, looked at possible homes in the D.C. area for the family when he first was elected, but decided against getting a place, at least for now. “I have kids in high school,” he said. “I want to make sure they still have those Idaho roots.” Labrador said if re-elected, he'll continue sleeping on his office couch for the next two years.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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