As she traveled to freshman orientation, it didn't take Rep.-elect Enid Greene Waldholtz, R-Utah, long to find the perfect example of what's wrong with Congress.
"I ordered our airline tickets through the combined ticket office like I was supposed to. The government was going to pay for my ticket at the government rate. And we were going to pay for (her husband) Joe's ticket ourselves," she said."When we got the tickets, mine cost $400 more. We figured they had the tickets mixed up. We called and they said, no - Joe qualified for an excursion rate, and my supposedly cheaper government rate was $400 more - and that I couldn't change it."
Not surprisingly, Waldholtz says Congress needs radical change.
"There is a unity of feeling among us that voters sent us here to do two things: 1. Change how Congress does business. 2. Change the legislation coming out of Congress," Waldholtz said.
She adds, "This is an exciting time. We are largely in agreement about things like a balanced budget amendment, cut-ting spending and shrinking budgets. Voters sent us here to do that job, and we will do it."
Waldholtz said she has begun weeks of orientation and briefings on issues for freshmen as well as taking care of housekeeping items such as choosing an office and finding apartments. The first sessions Wednesday were by House administrators on how to set up offices.
A Wednesday afternoon briefing was on ethics. "That's important to me, because I don't want to do anything even inadvertently that would cause the appearance of impropriety," Wald-holtz said.
Normally, freshmen are at a disadvantage to other members until they learn the ropes. "But I don't think that's as much the case this year" with Republicans seizing power in both houses. "Everyone's trying to figure out how things will change and work," Waldholtz said.
One change is that Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government normally gives a policy briefing for new members - but Republicans had complained that it was too slanted to the Democratic point of view.
So it was canceled this year because too few Democratic freshmen are around to make it worth-while. Most GOP freshmen plan to attend a policy briefing instead sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation in Balti-more next week.
Waldholtz said she is also already being swamped with resumes from people seeking jobs.
"Literally, every time we come out of our hotel room, someone is there wanting to give us a resume. Every time we go to a reception or meeting, we get more."
Waldholtz added, "I have received hundreds and hundreds of resumes. A lot of people want to be part of this. We look them all over, but give people with Utah ties an edge."
In what may be a sign of uncertain political times, Waldholtz also said, "We've decided to rent for at least the first term - so we're looking for an apartment."
Waldholtz, only the third women ever elected to Congress from Utah, said she's also finding that many people think her husband is the new member of Congress, not her.
For example, some government vendors wanted to lend different types of lap-top computers to new members so they could decide what they want for their offices.
"The lady kept saying, `As soon as your husband comes and signs for them, we'll let you have them.' It finally dawned on me she thought he was the new member. I told her I was the member-elect, and her face turned a dozen colors of red," Waldholtz said.
"(Rep.) Barbara Vucanovich (R-Nev.) heard us talking about it and told us to get used to it because it will happen all the time," Wald-holtz said.
Her husband added, "That's why I'm wearing my name tag now that identifies me as the spouse."