Scott Brown gets sweet Senate office, but Ted Kennedy's "hideaway" remains up for grabs
When Sen. Scott Brown was sworn in Thursday, he inherited some great digs: the late Ted Kennedy's spacious offices in the Russell Building. But he won't get the biggest prize of all -- Kennedy's "hideaway" office in the Capitol.
In addition to their main suites of offices where their staffers are housed, every senator has a second retreat somewhere near the Senate floor. No name on the door, just a number, and only colleagues and close friends are invited.
"Hideaways come in all shapes and forms, Kennedy's being the Rolls-Royce of hideaways," said Chad Pergram, who covers Congress for Fox News. Between votes, the late senator from Massachusetts could be found in his third-floor corner office -- two to three times the size of most others, with a fireplace and an amazing view of the Mall.
Hideaways are awarded by seniority, regardless of party. Kennedy, first elected in 1962, enjoyed his for decades; Barbara Boxer, who came to the Senate 30 years later, occupies a small, interior, windowless room nearby. (The House leadership and a few senior reps have their own private spaces in the Capitol, but most members do not.)
Now that the Capitol Police have opened up space by moving to the new Visitors' Center, even freshman senators get a hideaway, albeit small and utilitarian. "I remember interviewing Bill Nelson, who took me to his hideaway in the basement during his first term: metal door, metal desk, a couple chairs," Pergram said.
Because Kennedy died in the middle of his term, Brown is entitled to use the Russell office until next year, when it will become available to lawmakers with more seniority. The grand hideaway, currently vacant and undergoing "much-needed repairs," will be assigned next January, said Jean Bordewich, staff director of the Senate Rules Committee, which oversees the process. No telling who will nab the primo space: Most senior senators have been in their own hideaways for years and won't bother to move.
First things first: Until the Russell offices are ready for him, Brown will temporarily work from a trailer in the courtyard.
The Reliable Source
February 8, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
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