For those in attendance, the State of the Union can be exhausting. Standing up, sitting down, standing up and clapping politely for hours saps the energy of even the most ardent politicians. If viewers at home see senators sneaking out of the House during tonight’s speech, don’t worry: those elected officials are probably headed for the Senate’s “Candy Desk.”Desk 80 is highlighted in yellow. (Courtesy Architect of the Capitol)
The history of the desk is short and sweet: In 1965, Senator George Murphy (R-CA) began stocking Desk 80 with candy for his fellow legislators. According to Architect of the Capitol, “In every Congress since that time, a candy desk [sic] has been located in the back row on the Republican side of the aisle and adjacent to the chamber’s most heavily used entrance.”
The Candy Desk raises some vital questions: are there treats in the replica desk in the Kennedy Institute’s replica Senate Chamber? Are they edible?
During the 114th Congress, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) is assigned to Desk 80. In a January 2015 press release (and the video above) Sen. Toomey mused on the responsibilities of the Candy Desk steward:
“The Candy Desk duty is Mounds of responsibility. I campaigned for this assignment on the platform of life, liberty, and the pursuit of Peeps and hope Pennsylvania‘s treats will sweeten the bitter partisan atmosphere. I plan to stock the Candy Desk with Pennsylvania’s finest chocolate and deliciousness to ensure a surplus of sweets. We are home to the best confectioners in the world. Hershey’s, of course, is headquartered in Central Pennsylvania. Mars makes Three Musketeers in Elizabethtown. Just Born creates Peeps in Bethlehem. And we are proud of our smaller candy makers too including Asher’s in Kulpsville, Wilbur Chocolate in Lititz, Josh Early Chocolates in the Lehigh Valley, and many, many more.”
AN reached out to the senator’s Washington, D.C. office to find out what candy Sen. Toomy prefers. Bill Jaffee, Toomey’s press assistant, stated that the desk is currently stocked with “Kit Kats, Hershey’s almond bars, Peanut Chews, Pennsylvania Dutch chocolate caramels, Milky Way, and Mike n’ Ike.” In a great show of bipartisan goodwill, Democrats may partake in the snacks, too.