Seasoned Senators Dole Out Advice for Newbies on Capitol Hill

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Everyone’s a newbie at some point in their Senate career. After years on Capitol Hill, senators have come to learn a thing or two about surviving in the halls of Congress. As 12 senators-elect learned their way around the halls of the Senate this week during freshman orientation, several senators told ABC News some of the advice they wish they had when they started in the Senate.

“Have fun, think before you speak, and speak as often as you feel in your mind and heart that you have something to say,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said.

“You need to hire people you trust and know that there’s a difference between campaign and governing, and you hire people with that in mind,” Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., gave the newbie senators a book called The American Senate, to provide the incoming senators with a history of the upper chamber, Montana’s senator-elect Steve Daines told ABC News.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had some advice on office space to help new lawmakers avoid working in a “dungeon”-like space.

“Try to be fortunate so that you don’t get in the basement of the Russell building where I had to spend the time in my first years here in the Senate,” McCain said. “It’s very nice down here, but it sometimes resembles living in a dungeon.”

And Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., put his advice bluntly: “Try to avoid mistakes.”

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