Politicians Like Us! They Really Like Us!
If you're looking for a challenge, try contacting senators and U.S. representatives during the dead of August. Congress is in recess, and they're either toiling away in their home states or spending time with family on some remote beach. But staff writer Dan Zak managed to track down these fine folks as they crisscrossed the country. "Say something nice about D.C.!" he commanded, and they did.
"I do like the fact that there's so much water out here. We need to figure out a way pump some of it back to Colorado."
-- Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.)
"I live on the Hill, I work on the Hill, my kids go to school on the Hill. I can walk to church, I can walk to the dry cleaners and the bank. I can't walk in Alaska in my communities because the towns are so spread out. I love the fact that I can walk anywhere that I need to go in Washington, D.C., and to me that makes for a very livable city."
-- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
"There is no place in the world that has a better concentration of intelligent and well-informed people. If you're interested in politics, government and economics, you won't find a better set of people to talk to. Washington is a wonderful place and civilized. Having an airport so close is nice. The Metro is also useful. But it's essentially the people. After my district, where I need and want to spend time, Washington ranks very high."
-- Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
"Washington is unlike any other city in the country. To go to work every morning -- blocks from the Capitol, the Supreme Court and the White House -- is truly inspiring, no matter how cynical or frustrated about politics you might feel. This is a city that provides easy access to our nation's history, to major works of art and to cultural opportunities. And it is a beautiful city, too. Washington has wide streets and large parks and beautiful architecture. It's not Dallas, but I enjoy the time I spend here."
-- Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas)
"From a management point of view, it has the largest surplus of any city in the U.S. The federal government could take a lesson from D.C. We've seen real change over the last 50 years. The ballpark, revitalization and young people wanting to move downtown. The city has elected good leaders: [Anthony] Williams, [Adrian] Fenty. City voters have higher expectations of the government. You take a look over half a generation, and this city has turned around. It certainly has its problems and limitations, but it has really come back. More members [of the House and Senate] are living in the city now."
-- Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.)
"It's a city that's alive. It's vibrant. You get a chance to interact with people from all over the world. I love the spring and the fall there. I love when they have the tables outside on the sidewalks and you can walk around Capitol Hill and see people having lively conversations. Eating in Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan. A lot of times a bunch of us will go out on a Wednesday night. If we don't have votes, we'll get a little further away from Capitol Hill."