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Bipartisan Congressional Rock/Country Band Performs Worldwide


For most of us who watch the evening news, our perceptions of how a politician should look and behave is well set in our minds. It is a carefully tailored image promoted by their campaign ads and their political party. Here's the story of five U.S. Congressmen who do not fit the stereotype as they share their common love of music with others. VOA's Ernest Leong has more.

Life for a U.S. Congressman is often a busy one. Whether visiting a disaster area halfway around the world, or voting on bills back in Washington...

Congress in session: "The unfinished business is the question on adoption of the conference report NHR 5682, on which the yays and nays are ordered."

... it is a life on the run, and under constant public scrutiny.

But one night a week, after the day's debating and voting is done, five Congressmen meet in a cramped room, to live out their dreams...

Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson of Minnesota sings lead for the band. "Dre-e-am, dream, dream, dream..."

... of becoming rock stars. They call themselves the Second Amendments, so named because the original group, the Amendments, broke up in the mid-1990s.

The Second Amendments have gone on tour, playing at events such as Farm Aid in Minnesota last year.

Peterson explains, "But we are the Second Amendments. We're five members of Congress, that are a little bipartisan, like to have fun once in awhile."

And fun is the top priority for the Second Amendments -- not politics. Republican Congressmen Kenny Hulshof of Missouri and Jon Porter of Nevada:

Congressman Hulshof says the band is not about politics. "Our slogan, if there is a slogan, is -- no politics, just rock 'n' roll."

Congressman Porter agrees, "We also play for each other. As far as politics, the one thing we will do is help each other's campaigns."

In a lighter "political" moment, Michigan Republican Thaddeus McCotter offered his thoughts on why four out of five band members are Republicans. "But it [the Republican majority] does represent the proportional talent on either side of the aisle."

The band members like to play rock and country standards, mostly from the 1960s and '70s...

Peterson (singing): "Don't the girls all get prettier at closing time?"

... and their songs have been well-received, both at home, and abroad. The Second Amendments played for the U.S. troops in Kuwait, and Iraq, where they came under fire.

Republican Representative Dave Weldon from Florida jokes, "We did get mortared [in Iraq] -- five rounds. Five members of the band, five rounds... well, we believe it was the enemy."

In the political arena, politicians are expected to speak out on issues big and small. But for a few moments, whether in this tiny room or on a huge sound stage, these five politicians have found a way to reach the public with their love of music.

"Thank you all so much. Thank you for supporting Willy and Farm Aid. Thanks from the Second Amendments," kids Congressman Peterson.

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