Rep. John Lewis Announces Plans to Grow a Beard
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) announced plans on Monday to grow a beard in an attempt to avoid being repeatedly mistaken for Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
“Just this weekend, I went to church in Maryland. Someone came up to me and said, ‘Hi, Mr. Cummings! I vote for you all the time,’’’ said Lewis. “I just said thank you. What else could I say? That’s when I decided, I should just grow a beard.”
Rep. Lewis’s announcement comes after years of “baldist” press reports that have confused the two famously clean shaven, African-American members of Congress. Both are outspoken opponents of the administration and have served in the House more than 53 years combined. To make things even more confusing, Rep. Cummings is chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, while Rep. Lewis chairs the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee.
But the frequent cases of mistaken identity extend beyond the press to the street, where Rep. Lewis is sometimes confused for his colleague from Baltimore.
“People stop me all the time and tell me they’re from Maryland,” Rep. Lewis added. “I’m John Lewis, from Georgia. Rep. Cummings is a good friend of mine, but we’re not the same person.
“I considered getting a tattoo on the back of my head, just to clear things up. I tried to convince Elijah to get one too, but that didn’t go over so well.
“I guess being mistaken does have its advantages, though,” said Lewis. “Elijah’s younger than me, so I guess being mistaken for him is kind of a compliment. Maybe one day when I have a schedule conflict, I’ll see if he wouldn’t mind sitting in a hearing for me. You think anybody would notice?”