"We singular freshmen do not have clout," he said. "However, working together as . . . freshmen we gain greater clout . . . We can leverage, if you will, the power or position of authority."
Already, however, the pace of Congress has proved exhausting.
"Yesterday was the longest day of my life," Tucker said Wednesday after enduring three successive swearing-in ceremonies. "I didn't get home until 11:30 p.m. and I had gotten up at 5:30 a.m."
Standing up to take his oath of office, however, presented both "a relief and a release," he said. "I was thinking about . . . a lot of nameless and faceless ancestors who preceded me, who laid the foundation that I could even have the right to vote and the right to run for office. I was thinking God had really smiled on me."
Steve Horn, former political science professor and noted congressional scholar, has been preparing himself for his new job since 1962, when he first served as a legislative aide to a U.S. senator.
But he never suspected his first office would be a converted storage room. Freshmen representatives drew lots to determine who would have first choice of office space.
"Mine was 105 out of 110," said Horn, who represents a district that encompasses much of the harbor area, as well as Long Beach, Lakewood, Bellflower, Downey and Paramount.
Horn did, however, get both of the committees he had hoped to be assigned to--Government Operations and Public Works and Transportation.
From his position on the first committee, Horn vowed to investigate government inefficiency, ineffectiveness and financial waste.
"It's a key committee if it wants to be, but it's one of the unsung committees of the Congress," he said.
His position on Public Works and Transportation, expected to be a powerful committee wielding millions of dollars in contracts under the Clinton Administration, puts him in a position to aid the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Although a Republican, Horn plans to work closely with his Democratic colleagues, particularly those whose districts ring his own. He already has made a joint appearance with Harman at the Port of Long Beach, where they promised to work together to preserve both the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, which is in his district, and the Los Angeles Air Force Base, which is in hers.
But despite all the politicking and coalition-building the new South Bay caucus must do, Horn said, the emotion of his new role has gotten through to him.
"When I was sitting there waiting to take the oath, I looked around the chamber and I thought of Daniel Webster, who stood in the old House, and of Henry Clay, who was elected Speaker of the House by his colleagues on the first day," Horn recalled. "When you think about those people, you hope you can do half as well."