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Undercover Congressman

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Chicago residents: The next time you receive a package, closely ogle the delivery guy. He might be your Congressman.

During his weeks back in his district, Rep. Mike Quigley hits the streets of the Windy City to go undercover.

The Democrat was sworn in to office in April 2009, and not long after he came up with the idea for the “Undercover Congressman,” which would be a cross between the television programs “Undercover Boss” and “Dirty Jobs” — except in real life.

Since taking office, he has worked more than 40 jobs, including conducting an elementary school band, working on a garbage truck, making pinball machines, laying water pipes, fishing for Asian carp, delivering pizzas and eating lunch at a Chicago public school.

“[His favorites are] the ones where he gets to roll up his sleeves,” District Director Aviva Bowen says. “Things where he really gets to dig in.”

According to Bowen, the Congressman prefers being out of a suit and doing hands-on work instead of pushing papers. For that, HOH surmises, he could just stay in Washington.

“I think,in general, these experiences are more memorable than any memo we could provide,” Bowen says.

For example, when Quigley was working a mail route, he learned how important six-day mail service is for seniors.

In fact, one older woman was complaining to her mail carrier, while Quigley watched. The carrier offered to take her concerns to her Congressman.

“They would never listen to just one old lady,” the older woman said to the postal worker, according to Quigley’s office.

“Well, he’s right here,” the mail carrier said, gesturing to Quigley.

Though interested people can find some video of the Undercover Congressman, he usually does them without press, according to Bowen.

Next up: Quigley takes on a hot dog and sausage factory. That should be easy, as he sees legislative sausage being made all the time.

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