Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey is about to become the Senate’s official “Candy Man.”
Toomey is taking over the task of stocking the Senate’s “Candy Desk” for the 114th Congress. The desk is located in the back row on the Republican side of the chamber, adjacent to the most highly trafficked entrance, but is free for lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to partake.
“The Candy Desk duty is Mounds of responsibility,” Toomey said in a statement released by his office. “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.”
The first-term senator said he plans to fill the desk with “Pennsylvania’s finest chocolate and deliciousness to ensure a surplus of sweets,” including Hershey’s (based in Central Pennsylvania), Three Musketeers (made by Mars in Elizabethtown) and Peeps (from Bethlehem-based Just Born). But Toomey said he also intends to highlight smaller candy makers from the Keystone State, such as Wilbur Chocolate in Lititz and Josh Early Chocolates from the Lehigh Valley.
The tradition of the Candy Desk began in 1965, when, according to the Senate, Sen. George Murphy, R-California, “originated the practice of keeping a supply of candy in his desk for the enjoyment of fellow senators.”
Since then, the senators who have occupied the desk have kept the tradition alive. Among the former holders of the seat: Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The most recent occupant of the desk was Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who has been handling candy distribution duties since 2011.