News / USA

US Congresswomen Serving in the House, Share Home

Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney, Melissa Bean and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, all Democrats, share a house in a neighborhood near the US Capitol
Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney, Melissa Bean and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, all Democrats, share a house in a neighborhood near the US Capitol

Multimedia

There are more than 430 members in the U.S. House of Representatives, but only 73 of them are women. Many of these women left behind family and friends to represent their districts in the U.S. Congress.  The congresswomen who live together share not only a high-powered career in politics, but also family and motherhood.

It's eight in the evening and the end of a hectic day at the house of Carolyn Maloney, Melissa Bean and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, all Democrats, in a neighborhood near the U.S. Capitol.  For five years, the three women have shared a house and their lives while serving in one of the most prominent and fast-paced careers in Washington.  Carolyn Maloney, a congresswoman since 1993 owns the home they share. She bought it after living alone in an apartment for more than a decade.

"When I bought this house I thought I would like to be like the Founding Fathers. When they first were elected they lived in rooming houses and got together for dinner and shared ideas.  So I looked for two roommates that were compatible and found Debbie Wasserman Shultz from Florida, from the South, and Melissa Bean from the West, from Illinois, and I am from the East, New York, so we are from different sections of the country, but we were all mothers and had been elected officials and have a great deal in common," said Maloney.

The roommates work and live in Washington during the week and commute to their home states and families on weekends.  Melissa Bean and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are married and still have children at home.  Carolyn Maloney has grown children.  Wasserman Schultz says the greatest bonus of having roommates is the friendship - and a warm environment to go back to at the end of the day.

"This is a rough-and-tumble place and it's nice to come back to two people who care about me, who care about my success, who care about the difficulties I might be having either at work or at home and just to have two friends who are a sounding board," said Wasserman Shultz.

In 2007, Wasserman Schultz learned how important it was to have a support group, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She went public with her diagnosis last year, and is cancer-free today.  Carolyn Maloney's own tragedy struck last September, when she learned that her husband of 31 years had died on a mountain trail, during an expedition to the Himalayas.

"My roommates were a source of great comfort and support to me during this time of great loss," said Maloney.  "We are all moms; we are all working moms so we share the challenges of balancing work and family and being there for our children. We share and support each other."

And if last year was an important year in their relationship, this year is crucial for their political careers. All three roommates are up for reelection in the fall, but Melissa Bean says even if one or more of them were to lose, that would not affect their friendship.

"All of us, whenever that happens will have lives beyond Congress and our friendships will endure," said Bean.  "And what's a little surprising about that is that you don't come to Congress to make friends because if you do, you're not coming to be independent and have your own mind and so what a great surprise it has been to make such great friends."

At the end of July, the roommates said goodbye, as they started summer recess and headed back to their home states to gear up for the fall re-election campaign.  They'll come back at the beginning of September and hope to share not only their summer experiences, but also another term in Congress, and another year rooming together.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid