Deborah Barfield Berry
A bipartisan handful of senators strolled into the rotunda of a Senate office building Thursday, sporting blue-and-white-striped outfits to celebrate National Seersucker Day.
They represented states as far away as Alaska and Minnesota. But most of them came from states in the South, where seersucker suits and iced tea mean summer.
“It truly is a celebration of an American product, uniquely American,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, who once again led Seersucker Day on Capitol Hill. “It happens to be New Orleanian, which adds to our national culture.’’
For Cassidy and others, it’s was also a chanceto put aside partisanship and enjoy a light moment.
“The fact that we’d all do it today — both parties — from the North, South, East, West is kind of statement that we can actually enjoy life together,” he said.
Seersucker Day isn’t complete without Mississippi lawmakers. After all, former Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott started the tradition.
Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, who succeeded Lott, said he hasn’t missed the Capitol Hill event since 2008.
“It’s a great bipartisan tradition,’’ said Wicker, who sported white bucks to complete the official outfit.
He even took a moment to show off his shoes. He was the only senator sporting the white bucks at the photo op.
“You remind me of Trent Lott with them,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told Wicker.
Wicker said he had to be there.
“I think it’s okay to smile every now and then and do something lighthearted," he said.
Fellow Mississippian Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican newcomer, also showed up in her seersucker paint suit.
Hyde-Smith, the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, was early and joined three other female senators in their seersucker outfits.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, noted how the number of women participating in the annual event had increased.
“The movement has grown," said Klobuchar, a regular.
It wasn't just the senators. Dozens of staffers, and a few journalists, joined them seersucker suits, dresses and jackets. They came in shades of blue and pink. Darren Kinnaird, a staffer in Sen. Doug Jones' office, wore a seersucker suit with patches of colors.
Cassidy said wearing the suit only makes sense. It’s lightweight, he said, and it’s good for hot, muggy weather. It was nearly 80 degrees in Washington Thursday.
“Why do (we) need a rationale to do that?’’ he said. “But again if you walk outside in a seersucker as opposed to a wool suit, in the wool suit, you’re sweaty and uncomfortable, and in the seersucker you’re pleasant. You feel good. You’re enjoying the outside. I’d rather enjoy the outside.”
For some folks, it’s not just a one-day thing. Cassidy plans to wear his suit again.
“Partly because I’m cheap so I’m going to try to get as much as I can out of whatever I buy,’’ he said.