Press Release of Senator Kirk


To Promote Employment for Illinois Candy Makers

Contact: Lance Trover 312-886-3506
Sunday, February 13, 2011


CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) today announced his new seat assignment in the Senate Chamber is the historic “Candy Desk.”  

“Holding the Senate Candy Desk provides me an opportunity to promote employment among Illinois candy makers,” said Kirk. “Chicagoland is the center of this industry with over 3,400 jobs represented by the participating Illinois companies.”

In 1965, Senator George Murphy (R-CA) originated the practice of keeping a supply of candy in his desk for his fellow senators. In every Congress since that time, the candy desk has been located in the back area of the Republican side, close to the Chamber's most heavily used entrance.

Kirk volunteered for the Candy Desk assignment with possible competition from Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) who represents Pennsylvania, including a large number of jobs associated with Hershey’s candy of Hershey, PA.

Senator Kirk will provide the Illinois made candies to the Senate at his expense. 

Participating Illinois candy makers employ over 3,400 people.  Products from the following Illinois companies will be represented in the Senate Candy Desk:


Wrigley Gum - approximately 1,400 employees, Chicago

Tootsie Roll Industries - 800 employees, Chicago

Lambs Farm - 250 participants, Libertyville

Garrett Popcorn - 186 employees, Chicago

Blommer Chocolate Company - 150 employees, Chicago

Long Grove Confectionary - 150 employees, Buffalo Grove

Jelly Belly - 133 employees, North Chicago

Illinois Nut & Candy - 7 employees, Skokie

Ferrera Pan Candy Company - 600 employees, Forest Park

Each company will be named an “Official Provider to the U.S. Senate Candy Desk”. 



The “Candy Desk” has been a Senate tradition since Californian George Murphy joined the Senate in 1965.  A candy lover, Murphy kept sweets in his desk that he regularly offered to his Senate colleagues, prompting them to nickname Murphy’s desk the “Candy Desk.” 

The “Candy Desk” tradition continued after Murphy left the Senate in 1971.  In the ensuing years, Senators fulfilled this roll including Paul Fannin (R-AZ), Harrison Schmitt (R-NM), Roger Jepsen (R-IA), Steve Symms (R-ID), Slade Gorton (R-WA), John McCain (R-AZ), Jim Jeffords (R-VT), Bob Bennett (R-UT), Rick Santorum (R-PA), Craig Thomas (R-ID), George Voinovich (R-OH), Mel Martinez (R-FL)  and George LeMieux (R-FL), and now Mark Kirk (R-IL).