By Beau Yarbrough, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 01/09/16 – 8:21 PM PST |
REDLANDS >> There’s political experience, and then there’s political experience.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-San Bernardino, spent eight years on the Redlands City Council, including six years as mayor, but his first year on Capitol Hill was a brand-new experience, starting with his swearing-in one year ago.
“It’s a special moment, something I got to enjoy with my kids, who were on the floor of the House with me,” he said. “To think how far (his family) has come in a few generations, living in this valley, to come to this moment, was amazing to me.”
That feeling hasn’t yet worn off for the freshman Congressman.
“I was in awe of the institution. I still am,” Aguilar said. “And I think that the minute I stop being in awe of that place is when I’ll exit stage right.”
And the Capitol building is a very different place than Redlands City Hall, starting with the more-than-full-time demands of the job.
“The pace, the pace of the work. Not just the travel, but the committee hearings, the back-to-back votes,” Aguilar said. “The pace of what we do is the thing I wasn’t (prepared for).”
That’s meant a tough schedule for Aguilar, who has two elementary school-age children back home in Redlands.
To stay in touch with his family, he flies home nearly every weekend, as do many members of Congress. The House of Representatives’ workweek typically runs Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday, depending on the week, allowing members to fly home hundreds or thousands of miles to their districts and families.
Not seeing his children in person each night is “the toughest part of the job,” Aguilar said.
“The time zones help. It’ll be late night for me — 10 or 11 o’clock and night — and I can call them and have a conversation before they go to bed. Every night, we try to talk. My wife tries to soften the blow by telling me ‘look, you just me taking them to school or me taking them to soccer and going to choir,’” he said. “But I also miss being able to help her. So I try to take the kids on Fridays, when I’m back in town. I try to go to as many things as possible, play dates and all that fun stuff. I want to be there for them, but they also know how important this job is.”
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