Hey Congress, want to improve your reputation? Maybe try a little more of this: One lawmaker recently saved a constituent from a terrible fate — getting married wearing cargo pants instead of a dreamy dress she’d ordered. 

Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) intervened  in a bureaucratic morass on behalf of Shawna Caley, a Rio Vista, Calif., woman whose wedding dress was stuck in U.S. Customs just days before her May 1 nuptials, according to a story in the Woodland Daily Democrat.

Rep. John Garamendi's constituent services include rescuing wedding dresses. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater) Rep. John Garamendi’s constituent services include rescuing wedding dresses. (Steve Yeater/AP)

Caley’s gown, which she had custom-made by a seamstress in Poland, was delayed for unclear reasons at J.F.K. Airport. The frantic bride made a last-ditch appeal to the congressman’s staff via e-mail before resigning herself to the idea of wearing casual duds for her big day. A day before she and her fiance were set to trade “I-do”s, the package arrived.

“I just started crying,” Caley told the paper. “I finally could breathe again.”

Garamendi was modest about the feat, chalking it up to being just part of his and his staff’s constituent-services duties. Though most of the requests for help, he notes, are more typically for assistance with Medicaid, Medicare, or veterans’ benefits. He’s proud of their work, for example, in helping to get $2.5 million in benefits due to veterans in his district.

But now that word is out about his staff”s skill in cutting through the red tape to spring the wedding dress, he thinks he might wind up on a few brides’ emergency-call lists.

“I think we might see a lot more wedding dresses now,” he jokes. “We’re going to have a very special relationship with Customs.”


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