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Washington • Incoming freshmen in Congress are assigned mentors veteran members who can show the newbies the ropes and answer the questions that don't get covered in their orientation.
Rep.-elect Mia Love scored big with hers: Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's 2012 vice presidential candidate.
"That's a pretty big deal, right?" Love joked as she scouted Wednesday for a new office at in the Capitol complex.
It is, actually. There are 50 new members and plenty of seasoned Hill folks to pair up with the incoming members, but Ryan, a conservative luminary and incoming chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is a catch.
Love, who got to know Ryan a little bit in the 2012 campaign, says the Wisconsin Republican has been great to work with and hasn't tried to force advice on her but rather offer "whatever I need."
"I've seen him almost every day I've been out here," Love says.
Ryan said in a statement that he's gotten to know Love over the past few years and is excited to work with her, especially because she understands the value of "exemplary" constituent service and "principled representation."
"Mia Love is a rising star in the Republican Party, and she's going to be a leader in the House of Representatives," Ryan said.
Love, who will take office in January, spent Wednesday going up and down the stairs and elevators in the Cannon House Office Building, peeking in office suites to try to find one that she liked – and one she could get. Hill offices are parceled out in a lottery system for the incoming members. Freshmen usually get stuck with not-so-convenient ones.
In the morning, Love drew No. 17, and she hustled off to the Cannon Building to peruse the short supply of spaces, making a dash for the third floor, asking Rep. Pete Olson's staff if she could take a look. Of course, they said, fetching Olson to offer the tour.
"What's your [lottery] number?" Olson asked, emerging from his private office before recognizing the incoming congresswoman. "Oh, it's Mia Love!" he added, hugging her and congratulating her on her victory.
It was a nice space and it was on the short list.
"There's a good vibe in this office," Love said. "I like it."
A few offices over, Love encountered a Republican member who lost re-election and apparently hadn't taken the time to care about who the new members were.
"Are you a member?" the congressman asked.
Yes, Love said, offering her name and that she was from the 4th Congressional District in Utah.
"Get out of here," he shot back, dumbfounded.
Love took a moment to chat with Utah Rep. Chris Stewart when she passed his office on the third floor and noted how much she liked his space but that she wouldn't try to muscle him out of it.
A little later, Love found the office she wanted: Cannon 217, whose occupant is Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. With a No. 17 draw, Love crossed her fingers as those in line before her picked suites.
One member, apparently distracted, didn't even show up to pick. When it was Love's turn, she grabbed Blackburn's suite.