California Dem: Peace Corps better than Congress

Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) says the Peace Corps isn't just a “life-changing” opportunity to serve, the volunteer program is also a great way to get in shape.

“It's the federal government's best weight-loss program,” the congressman quipped Wednesday morning to a packed room at a Peace Corps recruiting event at the Longworth House Office Building.

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A Peace Corps official discussed new agency reforms aimed at simplifying the application process, and ways to involve applicants more closely in decisions about how and where they serve.

Farr is one of five members of Congress who are returned Peace Corps volunteers. The 73-year-old lawmaker served in Colombia from 1964 to 1966.

Reps. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Tom Petri (R-Wis.), and Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) — also Peace Corps vets — also encouraged the crowd to apply to serve.

“Many years ago, somebody asked between being elected to Congress and being in the Peace Corps, which in your lifetime was the better choice?” Farr recalled of an experience with fellow lawmakers.

“Of course, we were all elected, so we could say it, but we all said the Peace Corps,” he added to laughs. “And I was shocked to hear that.”