By Bob Cusack
Breaking news: House Republicans and Democrats, in an election year, sat down for a meal in the Capitol last week and enjoyed each other’s company.
The goal of this unusual dinner was for members to get to know each other. Here’s the best part: There were icebreaker questions, including: What did you want to be when you were little? Who is the most interesting person you’ve met? What don’t your colleagues know about you?
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) helped organize the “Congressional Diversity” dinner, which was attended by 28 Democrats and nine Republicans. Other co-hosts included Reps. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.).
There were plenty of tasty items on the menu, including roasted chicken, beef short ribs, BBQ shrimp, yams, collard greens, cheddar cornbread and macaroni and cheese. Red velvet cake and mini sweet potato cupcakes were the dessert.
Kelly, Roby and Gutiérrez picked up the (hefty) tab.
Kelly hopes to make the congressional dinner an annual event. She told us, “There is a great benefit to people getting to know each other beyond political barriers ... I’m grateful to my co-hosts for helping out and encouraging others to participate. So many members have thanked me for organizing the dinner and want to do it again. And so do I.”