Washington, D.C. Feature


D.C.'s Party Animals: Legislators

General Description

The legislator's life cycle is one of migration, from its home state to Washington and back, during weekends, congressional recesses, and finally, election years. Natural selection has made it thus a particularly hardy and dynamic species; its struggles for dominance are among Washington's most dramatic and powerful.

Identifying Marks

Prominent smile, entourage, American flag pin. Legislators are rarely alone, but outside the Capitol are seldom seen in the company of other legislators, preferring the company of staffers, lobbyists, and (sometimes) interns. They often travel in black SUVs and tend to be hard to catch, but can sometimes be lured by cameras and microphones.


While in Washington, legislators eat a rich diet of porterhouse steak, Chinese takeout, and french fries. But in election years a legislator's epic journey of campaign migration results in significant culinary hardship, and during this time many subsist on doughnuts and pie.


Observe legislators in the Capitol itself, and around the Hill and White House at the Source, Capital Grille, and the Caucus Room, as well as in Georgetown at Cafe Milano. On Friday afternoon and Monday morning, you may catch a glimpse of legislators migrating through Reagan National Airport. In election years their habitat changes dramatically, and although hard to find in Washington, they're easy to spot at county fairs and senior citizens' homes.


This species is known for noisy and complex displays of principle, called speechifying. These displays are meant to simultaneously attract voters and intimidate competitors; occasionally, they also result in legislation.

Updated: 2014-09-23

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