What You Should Know About the 113th Congress

Notable faces, facts

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 3, 2013 7:58 AM CST

(Newser) – The fiscal cliff deal was the last hurrah for the 112th Congress. Now a freshly elected class is coming to Washington, with more than 90 new faces gracing Capitol Hill. Here are some of the notable names and facts you'll want to know:

  • The Rising Star: Politico sees big things in store for freshman GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, who left his law practice in 2004 to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's already earned endorsements from such disparate GOP figures as John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and the Club for Growth.
  • The Workaholic: Before coming to Congress, freshman Democrat Raul Ruiz was working as an ER doctor, running a mentorship program, opening health clinics, and running education seminars in poor areas. And he sounds ready to bring that level of dedication to Washington. "I'm a doctor, we work in teams," he says. "I'm very committed to problem solving."

  • The Class President: Republican Luke Messer has been named president of the freshmen, and sounds like he's already got a handle on things, reports the Hill. "At our first meeting I established a rule where … no one could talk more than two minutes," he said on TV recently, "so our first meeting took 18 minutes, and everybody was very happy."
  • The Inspiration: Expect veteran and double-amputee Tammy Duckworth to be a favorite of the Democratic leadership. She's already proven herself a prodigious fundraiser, given a well-received speech at the DNC, and landed a spot on the Armed Services Committee.
  • The Pro: She may be a newcomer to Congress, but Ann Wagner has loads of experience, having chaired or co-chaired the Missouri Republican party, the RNC, and Roy Blunt's 2010 Senate campaign. John Boehner has already selected her to deliver the weekly GOP address.
  • The Loudmouth: Alan Grayson is back, everybody.
  • The Wrangler: There's a decent bet you'll see Ted Yoho on cable news. A large-animal veterinarian by trade, Yoho at one point ran an ad featuring mud-spattered politicians wrestling with and eating alongside pigs. Maybe he can hang out with fellow Republican Kerry Bentivolio, a reindeer farmer from Michigan.
  • The Empty Seats: This Congress will be notable in part for the colorful personalities that are departing: Barney Frank, Ron Paul, and Dennis Kucinich will all be gone.
  • The Familiar Names: There will once again be a Kennedy on Capitol Hill, as Joseph Kennedy returns to fill Frank's seat. Joaquin Castro, meanwhile, brings a familiar face—he's the twin brother of DNC keynote speaker Julian Castro.
  • The Ladies: ABC News reports that the Senate will, as of today, be comprised of a record-setting 20 females.

Alan Grayson, seen in this file photo, is more like a "super freshman."   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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