Not-So-Typical Political Résumés

You won't find a baker or candlestick maker in the 110th Congress, but there is a former butcher.

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You won't find a baker or candlestick maker in the 110th Congress, but there is a former butcher—Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who plied the trade in a company store in his youth. A new report by the Congressional Research Service peers into the former lives of federal lawmakers and finds a host of humble beginnings or odd jobs, such as carpentry, waitressing, and driving a taxi. The CRS also unearthed a former furniture salesman, a cement plant worker, and a lowly bellhop. Still, most wind up in politics, law, or business management before graduating to Capitol Hill.