Hometown: Snowflake, Ariz.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Married
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is a walking advertisement for the benefits of healthy living.
And it’s not because of those infamous shirtless photos that showed off his chiseled physique during his 2009 desert island adventure.
It’s because the lawmaker hit the milestone age of 50 shortly before he joined the Senate, and he doesn’t look anywhere close to that age.
“My birthday’s on the last day of the year — New Year’s Eve — I was about 12 when I realized all those parties weren’t for me. It’s quite a blow to your ego. It’s always a party on my birthday. Fortunately,” he told The Hill.
His youthful appearance can be attributed to his lifestyle choices: In accordance with Mormon doctrine, he has never tried coffee, tea, alcohol or tobacco.
But he notes the caffeine restriction is “a misnomer” and admits to being a Diet Coke fan.
When this lawmaker wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of Washington, he really gets away — to a deserted island.
Flake first made a solo trek to Jabonwod, one of the Marshall Islands, when he was a member of the House. At the time, he said he wanted to test his survival skills.
He enjoyed it so much he repeated the experience this past June and took his two sons with him (and donned a shirt for the commemorative pictures).
When he can’t make an island getaway, he decompresses with sports.
“I enjoy sports all the time,” he said. “Baseball. I like pickup basketball. I jog, bike, you name it.”
If he wants to indulge, he goes for ice cream, specifically “moose tracks,” a vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups, and moose tracks fudge.
“I’m one of 11 kids. I grew up on a ranch. There was never enough dessert, never enough ice cream. I still consider it a scarcity, so I eat all I can whenever I can. So that’s my big vice,” he said, adding that in order to enjoy it, “I work out a lot.”
Flake has made his mark on the Senate after only six months in the upper chamber.
As a member of the Gang of Eight, he was one of the leaders involved in pushing a comprehensive immigration bill through the Senate.
It was a remarkable accomplishment for a freshman lawmaker, and it gave him a national profile.
But it hasn’t gone to Flake’s head.
“When I look in the mirror, I don’t see the president,” he said. “I see someone who lucked out in getting elected to the House and was even luckier in getting elected to the Senate.”
— Emily Goodin