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January 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

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Herrera Beutler gets welcome gift to Congress

Posted by Kyung M. Song

WASHINGTON -- On her first day in Congress, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler received a welcome gift from her fellow House members from Washington state: a painting of a just-hatched chick that's been bestowed on the newest member of the delegation since the 1970s.

The painting was purchased by then-U.S. Rep. Joel "Art Expert" Pritchard in 1972. Pritchard paid $50 -- or 50 cents, no one seems certain -- and passed it on to Rep. Norm Dicks when he arrived at the Capitol in 1977. The painting subsequently passed through Mike Lowry, Dan Evans, Brock Adams and more than a dozen others. All of them signed their names on the back of the canvas.

On Wednesday, Reps. Dave Reichert of Auburn and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane showed up at Herrera Beutler's office in the Longworth Building for a ceremonial handoff.

McMorris Rodgers and Reichert inherited it from Rep. Rick Larsen in 2005. McMorris Rodgers had possession of it until this week.

"I think she kept it in her garage," Reichert cracked shorly before presenting the painting.

Rep. Doc Hastings of Pasco also showed up for the welcome. Dicks was the only Democrat in attendance.

Giving the painting a critical appraisal, a grinning Herrera Beutler declared, "It's awesome. I will hang it in my closet."

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