February 1, 2015

#CapitolKojo Day 1: C-SPAN, Gerry Connolly And Finding A Work-Life Balance

By Erica Hendry

Kojo's team sets up in the Folger Library ahead of Kojo at the Capitol, our week-long reporting project on Capitol Hill.

Kojo's team sets up in the Folger Library ahead of Kojo at the Capitol, our week-long reporting project on Capitol Hill.

We’re kicking off #CapitolKojo, our week-long reporting project on the Hill, with four shows that feature issues facing both prestigious politicians and everyday residents and staffers.

Here’s our lineup:

 Noon: The C-Span Effect: How Cameras Affect Our Understanding of Congress 

An image from the first C-SPAN broadcast in 1979.

C-SPAN, Twitter, Facebook, and (yes) the Daily Show give American voters a unique, near real-time view of Congress. But the portrait is often incomplete, missing the strategy, elbow twisting and every day constituent service that goes into legislating. We talk with C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb and Roll Call Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni about the difference between Congress as it is, and Congress as we imagine it.

12:30 p.m.: Shakespeare and Political Rhetoric

At center is the "Julius Caesar" bas-relief on the exterior of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Politicians for centuries learned the art of persuasion from classical texts, with a heavy emphasis on Shakespeare’s plays. (Need proof? Plenty of American presidents have included the Bard’s lines in their public addresses. Among them: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton). “To be or not to be” doesn’t make its way on the floor everyday, but Shakespeare’s oratory style has influenced much of what we see in speeches and legislation today. We explore the language of politics.

1 p.m.: How Lawmakers Connect With Their Districts, Near And Far

Connolly's district includes most of Fairfax County and most of Prince William County.

Some members of Congress commute to Capitol Hill from thousands of miles away. U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly represents a district close enough that he could take Metro to work if he wanted to. We talk with Connolly about what’s at stake for his constituents and the D.C. region in the year ahead.

1:30 p.m.: Finding Work-Life Balance On The Hill

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) speaks at a Labor Department forum on working families last May. Gillibrand gave birth to her second son while a member of the U.S. House in 2008.

Work-life balance? What’s that? It’s hard enough for most of us to find, let alone if you’re working on the Hill. In Congress, each lawmaker’s office makes its own policy on issues like maternity leave. The effects reverberate through the surrounding neighborhood, where a growing number of families are choosing to raise their children. We take a look at different opportunities and challenges faced by staffers and residents alike.

Don’t forget: You can always join our conversation on Twitter with #CapitolKojo.