Reaching across the Aisle

By Anna Mann

Richard Hanna ’76 and Suzan DelBene ’83 both serve in the House of Representatives.

Some 65 alumni and friends were treated to an unusual display of bipartisan camaraderie in September, when two members of Congress—both Reedies—shared an inside perspective on government service and politics in the nation’s capital.

Republican Richard Hanna ’76 (R-NY) is a lifelong union member who tends to his organic farm in upstate New York when Congress is not in session. He serves on the transportation and infrastructure committees.

Democrat Suzan DelBene ’83 (D-WA) is a former Microsoft executive who serves on the agriculture and judiciary committees.

The legislators took turns at the lectern to share their respective paths to the House and reflect on the demands, frustrations, and political realities that they face in carrying out their duties.

The event, “From Eliot Hall to the Halls of Congress,” was masterminded by Bennett Barsk ’82, chair of the D.C. chapter of the alumni association, who persevered through special election cycles and floor votes to find a time that fit the schedules of both representatives, whose offices are right next to one another. (Rumors that the Doyle Owl roosts in a secret passageway between the two offices proved impossible to verify.)