WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., was still shrugging off jet lag on Tuesday, following a quick trip to Ukraine while Congress was on spring break.
“The purpose was to show the Ukraine and Polish populations in the district . . .that we care,” Quigley told me about his four-day visit to Kiev and Dnipropetrovsk last week.
Quigley was a member of an official bipartisan “CODEL” — the nickname for taxpayer-funded congressional delegation travel — meeting with Ukraine officials in the wake of Russian aggression and the upcoming Ukraine national elections.
Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week after leaving town on April 10.
During the break, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., traveled throughout Illinois, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., among other events, held fundraisers in Dallas and in Palo Alto and La Jolla, Calif.
Here are highlights of what Chicago area House members did on their break:
♦ 1st District Rep. Bobby Rush (D) hosted two events: for high school students interested in military careers and for non-profits and small municipalities trying to win grants.
♦ 2nd District Rep. Robin Kelly (D) headed to Bradley University on April 11 for a program marking the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In past weeks, she hosted health and wellness and financial resource fairs and spoke at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
♦ 3rd District Rep. Dan Lipinski’s (D) office did not respond to requests for information.
♦ 4th District Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) was on a short CODEL to Mexico City, departing from Washington on April 10. The lawmakers met with Mexican government officials on immigration, intellectual property and judiciary issues. He returned to Chicago on April 12 and then headed on a personal trip to Puerto Rico.
♦ Quigley, a Democrat representing the 5th District, and his Ukraine CODEL also met with acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, members of the Jewish Ukraine community, activists and ethnic Russians and explored ways to wean Ukraine from dependence on Russian oil and gas.
♦ 6th District Rep. Peter Roskam (R) traveled to Japan for a seminar sponsored by the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization.
♦ 7th District Rep. Danny Davis (D) took no outside trips.
♦ 8th District Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) traveled to California at the end of April for a fundraiser for her warchest, campaign boosts for Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., and a meeting with women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke, who is running for a California state Senate seat.
♦ 9th District Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D) was with Roskam on the same Aspen Institute trip to Tokyo April 11-18. The focus was on “America’s Rebalance to Asia” and the program included briefings on trade, security and other Pacific region issues and a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Back home, Schakowsky had a series of meetings, interviews and events. She announced EPA grants, met city of Chicago employees on pension matters and appeared at a White House forum in Chicago. On April 23, she was at a fundraiser for Wisconsin Democratic governor candidate Mary Burke and on April 24 was in Iowa for a fundraiser for House contender Staci Appel.
♦ 10th District Rep. Brad Schneider (D) made a fund-raising trip to Miami. Back in the district, among other activities, he visited local high schools, spoke at a gun safety forum and hosted a roundtable in Highland Park on Great Lakes issues.
♦ 11th District Rep. Bill Foster (D) traveled through the district on break.
♦ 14th District Rep. Randy Hultgren (R) spoke at a National Journal event in Chicago about terrorism insurance, appeared on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” to discuss heroin abuse and talked about health reform at the DuPage Health Underwriters meeting.
♦ 16th District Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) is a major in the Air National Guard and was on duty in Madison, Wis., and New Mexico during the break. He flies the RC-26, a reconnaissance plane.
♦ 18th District Rep. Aaron Schock (R) based in Peoria, was on a CODEL to Japan, South Korea and China. (His surfing selfie on a Hawaiian beach was taken a day before the CODEL departed.) Schock’s CODEL also met with Japan’s Abe and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy. In South Korea, they traveled to the DMZ and in China held a series of meetings in Beijing.