No glamourous life for Chicago lawmakers in DC

February 1, 2010 4:50:53 AM PST
With an election primary just two days away, ABC7 Chicago thought it would be a good time to check in with some freshman Chicago-area lawmakers in Washington.Their paths to the seat of American power were different, and so is their capitol life.

It's been a year since Roland Burris stormed the United States capitol and was eventually seated as the junior senator from Illinois.

"I will have made my contributions to America, and I will feel good about it," said Sen. Roland Burris.

Burris has been to Iraq and says he's proud of votes to support veterans and health care reform.

ABC7 Chicago caught up with Mr. Burris in his Capitol Hill on the day President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. He says sitting in the chamber that night was a magical moment, especially considering it would be the last time he saw a State of the Union as a sitting senator.

"I had to make a choice whether I wanted to be here two years, committed to carrying about my agenda, or be a candidate. If I were a candidate right now, I wouldn't probably be here on this day because I'd be out campaigning because there's an election on Tuesday," Burris said.

Other freshmen lawmakers are also not settling into their Washington addresses, but for far different reasons."

"I don't want to establish a home. I don't want to live here," said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat representing Chicago.

Mike Quigley came to Congress after a special election to fill the job Rahm Emanuel left when he became President Obama's chief of staff.

Rahm was a creature of Washington. Quigley doesn't even have an apartment. He sleeps in his office.

"You grab it, throw it on the ground and fall asleep and hope the cleaning crew doesn't wake you up at 2:30 in the morning again," Quigley said referencing a portable mattress in his office.

"I haven't slept in my office. It's almost like not changing your socks for a week," U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said.

Lest you think the Senate's second highest-ranking Democrat looks down on Quigley, you should know he lives in the capitol equivalent of a frat house. Durbin lives shacks up with three other members of Congress.

"My wife says my living quarters are worse than anything she saw in college," Durbin said.

All this is proof that Washington makes for strange bedfellows, not to mention sleeping habits.