In the Nation’s Capitol

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

I was in Washington, D.C., last week on the day the Senate voted on the Manchin-Toomey gun legislation.

Senate hallways and offices were packed with visitors, lobbyists, and tour groups.

The media was present too; they ringed the Russell office rotunda—an area used by the networks for the reports you see on newscasts every day.

I was there to talk with office staff and aides who work for members of our Kentucky congressional delegation. KET is making plans to be in Washington for a live broadcast of Kentucky Tonight the first week in May followed by a series of One to One conversations with our Washington delegation. My intention was not to see any member of the group —although we did run into Reps. Yarmuth, Massie, and Barr.

But you couldn’t avoid the feeling that something a little out of the ordinary was taking place.
This was one day after the Boston Marathon explosions; there was a noticeable increase in police presence and canine patrols. Visitors in lines outside of the Cannon, Rayburn, Longworth, and Russell complexes were greeted with assault weapon-wielding policemen.

There was an eerie pall hanging over the Capitol.

This was also the day before the ricin-laced letter was delivered, but intercepted, by a congressional post office facility located far from Capitol Hill. At the same time, the third floor of the Russell Senate building went into lock-down because of a suspicious package delivered to a senator’s office—directly one floor above Sen. Rand Paul’s office.

For me and many other visitors, these elements — canine units on the Capitol grounds, a noticeable police presence, increased security — could not help but stand out. For senators and representatives, office workers, and Capitol personnel, it was just another day at the office.

Our One to One interviews will begin on May 13th. I’ll sit down with all eight members of our delegation to discuss national and Kentucky-related issues with them.

If you have a topic or issue you would like for me to discuss with any member, send me an email at bgoodman@ket.org.

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