HOME IS where the heart is, unless you serve in Congress. House members are obliged to have two residences, one in Washington, where they are expected to work a full-time job, and one in their home districts. Members balance these housing demands in different ways. Some have spouses and children in the home district, and commute to apartments or — in some cases — frat-like group homes in D.C., to save on rent. Others have their families join them in the Washington area and commute back to the district.
Ed Markey, who was first elected to Congress in 1976, eventually settled with his wife, Susan Blumenthal, into the Washington suburb of Chevy Chase. But he commuted back to his childhood home in Malden, where his aging parents lived. In 2001, after his father died, he bought the home himself. According to Markey’s office, he made 34 round trips between Washington and Malden in the last year alone.