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Following the Freshmen: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter

Thaddeus McCotter, all smiles at a reception in his new office following his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 7, 2003.
Andrea Seabrook, NPR News /
Thaddeus McCotter, all smiles at a reception in his new office following his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 7, 2003.

As the 108th Congress convened, with Republicans in charge of both the House and Senate, there were 53 new faces -- dubbed "freshmen" -- in the House: 20 Democrats and 33 from the GOP.

Among them: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, 37, a Republican from Michigan's 11th District, covering portions of Detroit and suburban Oakland County. As part of an occasional series focusing on the freshmen of the 108th Congress, NPR's Andrea Seabrook follows along as McCotter sets up his new office in the Cannon Congressional Office Building.

Judging by his political resume, McCotter, a native of Detroit, is an earnest public servant who rolled to victory over Democratic opponent Kevin Kelley on a platform of tax cuts, opposition to abortion and tougher standards for schools. He's also serious about his love of rock 'n' roll music.

"Beatles, (The Rolling) Stones... I loved to play (The) Who," McCotter says. "(Who guitarist Pete) Townsend is just fun to play. I used to be in a band, and we'd go from Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello. We just wanted to play rock 'n' roll. We did."

Music is one of McCotter's biggest inspirations. "He says anyone can quote a Beatles tune," Seabrook says. "But how many Americans can quote a congressman? To McCotter, that means popular music can be more important than the work he'll do here in the Capitol."

McCotter says there's still a lot of adjusting to do -- he and his wife and three children are sharing a 400-square-foot studio apartment, for now -- but he's already hit the ground running. His staff is preparing a response to President Bush's newly announced economic stimulus package.

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Andrea Seabrook covers Capitol Hill as NPR's Congressional Correspondent.

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