In a room packed with 85 incoming congressional representatives in the Rayburn Building in downtown Washington, D.C., where members of the House of Representatives have their offices, in front of press and staffers on Friday, newly-elected Virginia Republican Ben Cline drew the luckiest number in the office lottery for incoming members of Congress. Cline will have the first pick for office space for the 116th Congress, which he will occupy for at least the next two years.
When the outgoing Rockbridge County legislator of the Virginia House of Delegates pulled the top number giving him his pick of available office suites, Roll Call reported that he flashed a big smile as he turned around to face the crowd.
The traditional room lottery draw was run by the Architect of the Capitol House Superintendent’s Office William Weidemeyer, who told the incoming lawmakers that historically there has been a correlation between good luck acts and the number drawn. As the event began, Weidemeyer told the crowd, “Gyrations, dances and visible praying are highly encouraged,” with some freshman legislators performing dances in the room.
A bank of computers along a wall for staff to search an internal House system had maps of the office buildings, with photos showing the views from the windows and images of the inside of the offices. The system also shows characteristics like what year a particular office is due for renovation, if the windows are able to be opened, and if it comes with a view of the Capitol. Of course, which offices are best and worst is a matter subject to a lawmaker’s personal taste and opinion.
On Facebook, Congressman-elect Cline said:
“With the first pick of offices for the freshman class, I made sure to choose an office with lots of room for visiting constituents (1009 Longworth House Office Building). I look forward to welcoming you to your Capitol, and I’m very excited to go to work for you in the New Year!”