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Freshman Orientation Will Begin Nov. 14

While Election Day remains more than three weeks off, House and Senate officials are already finalizing plans for new-Member orientation sessions in their respective chambers.

In the House, lawmakers were expected to approve a resolution late Wednesday night setting the chamber’s orientation session to begin Nov. 14, about two weeks after the general elections.

The weeklong session, administered by the House Administration Committee, typically involves instruction on the basics of running a Congressional office, including hiring staff, communicating with constituents, using technology and adhering to the gift rule.

In addition, party leaders host an array of unofficial breakfasts, lunches, dinners and receptions throughout the week.

House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) noted Wednesday that the orientation date was moved back from the 2002 cycle — when Members-elect arrived one week after the general elections — to allow newly chosen lawmakers more time to organize before arriving to Washington.

“They didn’t like coming right after the election,” Ney said of the 2002 class. House officials expect the two-week window will allow Members-elect to conduct interviews with local media, meet with staff and family, and observe the Veterans Day holiday before arriving in the capital.

Much like the 2002 session, Ney said, the orientation will focus on the role of families in Congressional life, with a lawmaker-and-spouse team from each party speaking to the Members-elect.

In addition, the Ohio lawmaker said he expects a significant emphasis on security in light of increased measures around the Capitol complex as well as continuing military operations in Iraq.

“There’s a lot more to go over,” Ney said.

On the other side of the Capitol, officials have scheduled a three-day program, Nov. 15 to 17, for Senators-elect.

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