WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Oberstar’s office is a palatial suite in the Rayburn House Office Building, near elevators that go down to an underground subway connecting his building to the Capitol. The best House cafeteria is in his building, as is a gym for staffers.
Chip Cravaack’s new office won’t be nearly as nice, a fact of life for freshmen who stand on the very junior rung of the strict seniority ladder that governs most every tangible benefit House members receive. And Cravaack is on the junior end of that junior rung, having drawn the 64th most senior position in the freshman seniority lottery held earlier today.
Before the start of every new session, representatives and senators get to pick new offices, if they want them, in order of seniority. So Cravaack’s office will be on the top floor of the Cannon building, a location so remote that not all elevators in the building actually go up that high.
The Washington Post really nailed the description of all this:
Those who don’t get good numbers [in the lottery] know where they’re going – the small, lonely offices… on the top floor of the Cannon Building. These grim spaces just lost one of their few perks this year when officials advised Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) that he couldn’t barbeque ribs on the balcony.
“Fifth floor of Cannon, here I come,” the lottery’s losers often say.
Sure enough, here was Cravaack’s message on Twitter after finding out his slot: “Just picked number 64 in the room lottery. Good chance I will be on Cannon 5th floor. Happy to have elevators!” And one other side benefit his future staffers will enjoy — Cannon is just off of a subway station, so staffers commuting to work won’t get wet coming to work in inclement weather.
For future reference, Cravaack’s D.C. mailing address will be: 508 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515.