Life for Washington state lawmakers not as glamorous as you may think

Washington State Capitol
Copyright 4 News Now
Copyright 4 News Now

OLYMPIA, Wash. — It’s never been just a job for Marcus Riccelli. The work he does at the state capitol is something he has a real passion for.

“You’re working all the time, and a lot of it is just talking about what bill passed or didn’t, or what challenging issues we’re facing in the legislature,” said Riccelli.

There’s no overstating how important that passion is.

During each legislative session, Riccelli has to live in Olympia five days a week, and hours away from his wife and two little kids.

“When the kids were real small, it was hard to do bed time and make sure they do some FaceTime with dad, so they can still see him and talk to him,” Amanda Riccelli said.

Part of that balance is driving across the state overnight, just to make it to his kids games at 8 a.m. on a Saturday.

On top of that, Riccelli works the sidelines, coaching the kids soccer and basketball teams.

“I knew what I was signing up for, but I think an important piece is that this is a commitment from my whole family,” Riccelli said.

Now, you might assume lawmakers are living lavishly, but that’s not exactly the case—Riccelli’s temporary home during sessions is a two-bedroom apartment, which he shares with another lawmaker.

Just a couple lawn chairs and folding tables fill the apartment; his roommate even sleeps on a mattress that lays on the floor.

The representatives live together, because rent can cost too much—even for them.

The legislative session is starting to wrap up, so come March 12, Riccelli and the other lawmakers will go back home and back to their part-time jobs.