Unspun: Del. Anne Kaiser
By Kate Havard,
Name: Anne Kaiser
Occupation: Delegate-District 14, Montgomery County; vice chair, House Democratic Caucus
Home town: Rockville
What’s a book that changed your life? When I was in high school, I loved [Ayn Rand’s] “The Fountainhead.” I didn’t really think about it philosophically then. I’m much more about collective action today.
What do you wish someone had told you on your first day as a delegate?
Don’t keep so much paper. I keep too much of everything. Everything that came through. I used to think it was all-important and I had to keep it.
You are the chair of the education subcommittee. What are you working on?
I’m working with one of my colleagues on a bill about college completion. We do a good job in Maryland getting high school students into college but we’re not doing enough keeping people in college, helping them there with financial aid, and on ways to get older students who left to come back and finish. I remember there were a lot of people who just weren’t ready [for college]. . . . They left for financial reasons, family reasons or discipline reasons. And they don’t always come back.
What were you like in college?
I was kind of geeky. I went to the University of Chicago, “where fun goes to die.” I liked having intellectual conversations. I fell in love with deep-dish pizza.
Who was the best teacher you ever had?
Orville Bell, my 12th grade AP English teacher. When I went to college I was almost disappointed because I thought that all college teachers would be better than high school teachers, but he outshone many of them. I was a superstar at math, and English was not my best. He opened my eyes to a lot of things. “The Fountainhead,” some Shakespeare poems . . . “A Modest Proposal.” We read a lot. He made you think deeply about things.
What’s your favorite iPad app?
I can open the garage door from my phone. I could do it from right here.
Which celebrity do people tell you you’re like? Jodie Foster! Now people are going to laugh because we’re both lesbians, and everyone’s going to think that’s the only connection I’m making, but I have been told that a million times. I swear if I watch one of her movies with my eyes closed . . . if I listen, I’m like, “That’s my voice!”
You play soccer. What lessons do you take from sports?
In sports as in politics, the only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner. I thought about that after the marriage equality. We fought hard and we won, and there’s no reason to be angry at anyone anymore, personally or professionally.
What’s your favorite virtue and your favorite vice?
Virtue is people who don’t take themselves seriously. My favorite vice is easy. I drink way too much Diet Dr. Pepper. I had Joey [my aide] get another case from the car and put it in the fridge while you were in here.