50 Most Beautiful People for 2011: Page 14 of 50

50 Most Beautiful People for 2011



Age: 37
Hometown: New Orleans
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

The congressional Democratic baseball team has a new star in freshman Rep. Cedric Richmond. The New Orleans native began his sports career playing in the T-ball leagues at the playground across from his childhood home and eventually reached the collegiate level as a center fielder at Morehouse College.

Richmond has relied on sports throughout most of his life: His coaches were his role models after his father died when he was 7, his playing-field network carried him to public office when he first ran for the Louisiana Legislature 11 years ago and his involvement in a New Orleans-based basketball league and Washington-based softball league provide normality as he adjusts to life in Congress. (Richmond plays softball on the National Mall for the team from the Office of the United States Trade Representative.)

He’s given back, too. Richmond has coached youth sports teams since he was 16, and those teams inspired him to pursue a career in politics.

“People always talked about [how] our children are our future; they never put their investment in,” he said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office, freshly changed into a power suit after returning from the Democrats’ early morning baseball practice.

For a team player like Richmond, partisan Washington has been a difficult adjustment — “the lack of cooperation is just frustrating” — but Richmond is focused on doing the same things that have kept him grounded throughout his life. He tries to get back to New Orleans for his Thursday night basketball games, and he attends many youth sporting events, both to show support and touch base with his constituents. And, as a junior member of the Democrats’ ball team, he does much of the grunt work, following coaches’ directions and carrying the equipment.

“I’m not crazy enough to think that this is really about me, because it’s really not,” he said.

—Kris Kitto