Capitol Hill

This senator lost one son, but gained another
Death and murder shook his family, but Father’s Day is still a time of joy for Kevin Cramer

Kevin and Kris Cramer, center, pose for a family photo. Son Isaac, far right, died last year. (Courtesy Kevin Cramer)

Father’s Day at Kevin Cramer’s house is “wonderfully chaotic,” as the senator puts it, even with grief still fresh. It’s not much different from any other weekend: Four kids and five rambunctious grandchildren running around, plus a big piece of meat on the grill — maybe a burger, maybe moose.

“You can eat moose?” I ask skeptically.

Sometimes Congress has slow weeks. This wasn’t one of them: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of June 10, 2019

Rep. Jim McGovern had a long week too. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Are you (financially) smarter than a sixth-grader?
Watch out, Warren Buffett — there are middle schoolers on the Hill after your job

Want to keep up with the future investors of America? Get out your calculators. (Shutterstock)

Words such as “portfolio,” “investment” and “diversify” echoed in the Rayburn foyer and flew way over my head as winning middle and high school students from 10 congressional districts gathered on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. The kids were there to claim bragging rights and offer a crash course in Economics 101.

When it comes to the stock market, “start as early as you can and pay attention to what you’re investing in, and make sure it’s a long-term investment,” advised Raylee Stopka, a sixth-grader from Texas. (Sound dating advice for anyone looking for a soulmate as well.)

Reps. Jason Crow and Michael Waltz re-enact D-Day parachute drop into Normandy
The bipartisan parachuters’ 75th anniversary commemoration was next level

Reps. Michael Waltz, left, and Jason Crow pose together after their D-Day re-enactment jumps into Normandy on Sunday. (Courtesy Rep. Jason Crow’s office)

Why fly to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and stay within the safe and comfortable barriers of the plane, when you can instead jump out of a plane and re-enact the original mission completed by allied paratroopers into Normandy in 1944?

That’s likely what Reps. Jason Crow and Michael Waltz would say. The bipartisan pair were the only members of Congress who, this past Sunday, took the same leap that troops from the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions took 75 years ago. You could barely even tell decades have passed by the looks of the near-identical World War II uniforms donned by the fearless 21st century parachuters aboard “That’s All Brother,” the original C-47 that carried the 101st Airborne into Normandy.

Kristin Lynch is working the tie — and putting in the work
‘I feel pretty strongly about my identity as a lesbian,’ says Cory Booker staffer

From trivia night to her high-powered job in the Senate, Kristin Lynch is the role model she wishes she had. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There was a time when Kristin Lynch wore a dress to her job in politics, or one of those blouses that could be described as “flowy.” Now she wears a suit and tie, plus a crisp button-down shirt.

It’s not so much a fashion statement as a reminder that you need to be yourself, even in the halls of Congress.

Sen. Chuck Grassley announces he’s running ... 3 miles a day, 4 days a week
The Iowa Republican prefers to go it alone — and you won’t catch him with ‘plugs’

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, exits the Senate subway as he arrives in the Capitol for a vote on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Keeping Instagram abreast of the latest #CornWatch developments happening back at the family farm in Iowa isn’t the only responsibility Chuck Grassley prioritizes on a regular basis. When he’s in D.C., the 85-year-old senator dedicates four days a week to running 3 miles — rain or shine.

“I just wanna get out and do something so I don’t get fat, I guess,” the matter-of-fact lawmaker tells me. (Don’t we all?)

2,226 stairs can’t keep double amputee Rep. Brian Mast from reaching the top
It was the Florida Republican’s first Tunnel to Towers Climb

Florida Rep. Brian Mast, left, and fellow veteran Rob Jones participate in the Tunnel to Towers climb in New York City on Sunday.(Courtesy Office of Rep. Brian Mast)

Imagine climbing an arduous 2,226 stairs up 104 stories of a soaring New York City skyscraper — one step at a time, legs locked at the knee with only your hips to advance your lower body while your shoulders pull the rest of you up along the hand rail.

“Sore” and a few hand blisters is what Rep. Brian Mast has to show for conquering One World Trade Center this past weekend. The double amputee, who lost both legs in an IED blast while deployed in Afghanistan back in 2010, took on a challenge that required more resilience than strength.

A mysterious illness killed their son as the AIDS crisis raged
These grieving parents decided to ‘do something’

Parents-turned-activists Vicki and Fred Modell meet with Steny Hoyer in the ’90s. (Courtesy Scéal Films)

Just a few years after losing her son, Vicki Modell found herself in front of a microphone, staring down a group of senators.

“It was such a welcoming environment.” That’s how she recalls the political climate of Washington in the early ’90s. “The Appropriations Committee would actually sit there and listen to people like us who were advocating for our cause.”

Union Pub is like the ‘Matthew McConaughey of Capitol Hill’
Through renovations and name changes, beery refuge on the Senate side keeps staying the same

Patrons gather in the dining room of Union Pub on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Settled on the Senate side, a couple of blocks northeast of the Capitol, and nearly centered between the Hart Building and Union Station, sits a beery refuge that seems miles away.

“We’re in the business of hospitality and having a good time. We’re not in the business of trying to extend any kind of political discourse or our political feelings,” says Union Pub owner Matt Weiss.

From intern to ‘win’-tern: How to finish your Capitol Hill internship on top
Don’t sweat the small stuff while you’re sweating in the D.C. heat

This intern for Rep. Gregg Harper got stuck with sign-in duty in 2018. Approach every day like it’s your last one on the Hill, even if the tasks are menial, former interns say. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congratulations! You are minutes away from finishing your summer internship on Capitol Hill. Not only have you woken up at ungodly hours after too many margs at Tortilla Coast, but you’ve managed to beat everyone to the office by 30 minutes. You’ve mastered the fastest route between the House and Senate office buildings, and you’ve crushed coffee orders like the barista you could’ve been if it weren’t for this internship.

So, what’s next, you ask? You mean... you don’t have it figured out?