"It's time we had a break from the real world," one freshman congressman joked yesterday, referring to Harvard's six-day conference for newly-elected members of Congress, which began yesterday.
The approximately 36 participants in the program, which is designed to familiarize new congressmen with the issues they will face in federal government, gathered last night at a reception given by President Bok at the Faculty Club.
The Institute of Politics and the Select Committee on Congressional Operations of the House of Representatives are co-sponsoring the program at the Kennedy School of Government.
Several congressmen said they were optimistic about the program. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Calif.). "It remains to be seen whether it will be well done," he said, adding he had one "overriding" question he wanted answered: How can the government spend more money than it takes in?
Dannemeyer said he was one of the first members of the California legislature to endorse Proposition 13, which , he said "changed the face of politics in California and the country."
Larry J. Hopkins (R-Ky.) is the first Republican congressman from Kentucky since the Civil War. "I really don't have any legislation in mind," he said, adding "people want less government, not more."
The oldest freshman congressman is probably 69-year-old Edward J. Stack (D-Fla.). Stack said his age was not a negative factor in his campaign, adding that more than 50 per cent of his constituency is on social security.
The topics the congressmen will discuss with members of the Harvard faculty include tax policy, welfare reform, business regulation and urban policy