Return to @the Capitol.
Scrutinize the work of several major Congressional committees in online forums with the chairs and ranking members.
Participate in an ongoing dialogue with twelve new members of Congress.
Follow the first year in Congress of Freshmen Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jay Johnson (D-WI)
Jay Johnson (D-WI) - March 19, 1997
I'm bouncing along, riding the Metro (subway) back from Washington's National Airport on a Monday night, back from another four days in the district -- not the District of Columbia, but my home district of Green Bay, Wisconsin. It's been another long weekend and, from a glance at my schedule, it's a long week ahead. But I will never complain. I sought this job - worked hard, campaigned hard to get it -- and I'm thrilled each day that I'm lucky enough to represent the folks of Northeast Wisconsin and be their voice in the nation's capital.
The trips to the airport -- the ride by cab or Metro to and from my office or apartment to the airport are not becoming routine. Everyday is still a learning experience. This job of a congressman, I think, in many ways provides the same kind of fresh excitement I found as a reporter and newscaster. I am continuously challenged by new ideas, new facts, new information and a constant education of the world around us. The Congress is the greatest college on earth with all the resources one could ask for available to us in order to make the best decisions for our constituents and our country.
As I'm writing while leaning on top of a waste receptacle at the Metro (waiting for a train) I am thinking of the visit to a new school in the small town of Shiocton, Wisconsin. Citizens gathered for an Open House for the new all-in-one elementary, middle and high school -- a $7.7 million addition to the original school. It was a project three years in the making and a rightfully proud object of affection for students, teachers, parents and all of the taxpayers who voted for the bond issue to finance the refurbished building.
It's such a great source of pride for a community to come together and show off it's new public school and it reaffirms my belief that education is the best investment we can make for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. Education offers hope and promise for every single person in this country.
This "letter along the travel route" covers a couple of weekends, including an unexpected day and a half stop in Detroit. A winter storm that eventually dumped 20 inches of snow onto Green Bay also caused an icy rain storm that halted and delayed airplane traffic at Detroit, the mid-point in my weekly home-bound excursion. After a four-hour wait at the Detroit airport and after a slow hour and a half trip down the taxi-way, the de-icing equipment was worn out and we returned to the airport terminal at 2 a.m., left to find our own accommodations for the night. Luckily, my sister, who lives in nearby Birmingham, didn't mind putting up a congressman overnight.
Some of the news from the homefront while back in Green Bay:
I met with veterans from WWII, Korea and Vietnam. They would all like the "promise" of health care fulfilled for those who served.
I met with area nurses who would like a say in the design and regulation of health-care, especially as it affects nurses.
I had a chance airport encounter with Green Bay's Roman Catholic Bishop, Robert Banks. He advised me that he's got a letter coming concerning the issue of late term abortion.
My wife and I bought a home in Green Bay. We sold our home here a year and a half ago and rented a duplex during the campaign.
Our dog, Corky, got sick and had to go to the vet. At this writing, I'm still awaiting test results.
My cloth briefcase seems to get heavier each time I pick it up. It contains more than a weekend's worth of reading material on issues from the history of the 1996 Agriculture bill to notes on a Coast Guard plan (for the President's budget) to impose a first -- a fee for ice-breaking on the Great Lakes.
I'm finding my taste for airport terminal food revolves around cinnamon buns and coffee and that the on-board "snacks' of soda and peanuts or pretzels is already seeming to become a rather limited choice.
But, a smile still draws across my face when someone says "congratulations" or "how's the new job, Jay?" because it's still fresh and constantly enlightening and invigorating. To be chosen to serve the people of Northeast Wisconsin is truly an honor.