In a highly anticipated move, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) named 4 term Representative Jack Kimble (R-CA) as the GOP pledge chairman for the 113th Congress. Having handled pledge chairman duties to the large freshman class of 2010, the smaller 2012 class should be no problem for the California conservative. It will be up to Congressman Kimble and Speaker Boehner to help keep the new Representatives in line and united.
"A lot of times, people look at pledging as a time of heavy binge drinking while being quizzed on Atlas Shrugs, but the truth is, it's also a time where Representatives bond together. If we're to come together as one party, those nights spent out on the lawn in your boxer shorts with your face painted Republican red are important," said Kimble who will be responsible for hazing and educating both the men and the women this time around with Congresswomen Jean Schmid leaving Congress.
"People were shocked at our unity in the last Congress," said Kimble, "It takes a lot of willpower to keep saying no and that's something, I'm happy to say, that we practiced."
The tradition of pledging new freshmen goes back over 100 years, but really came to the fore under former House Speaker Dennis Hastert who is said to have wrestled every single member elected to Congress for the first time during his tenure. Under Speaker Pelosi, the tradition waned a bit, but Congressman Kimble is aiming to make this a pledge class to remember.
"I felt a bit disappointed that I missed out on Hastert, but there are some old traditions that we have to follow. I've had my staff calling liquor stores, thrift shops, and petting zoos to get everything we need together. A lot of what we do is secret to outsiders, but if you watch C-Span don't be surprised to see a Congressman dressed at Hulk Hogan or Little Bo Peep or a group of freshmen addressing the floor and then singing a Rick Astley song. It'll be a lot of fun for us."
Introducing Kimble as Rush Chairman during a dinner in Statuary Hall in the Capitol, Boehner said that 2012 is "going to require the effort of every Congressman to stay united. It's one thing to say no to Hurricane Sandy relief, but who knows what natural disasters might come down the pike. I have the utmost confidence in Congressman Kimble to do the job."