By The Hill Staff - 07/27/11 04:00 AM EDT
Hometown: Manteno, Ill.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: In a relationship
Call him the Tom Cruise of Congress — Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) flies planes, fights wars and wrestles criminals to the ground.
Kinzinger, an Air Force pilot, surprises no one in a sit-down interview in his Longworth office when he reveals one of his passions: “I love flying.”
The result: three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.
But also: a girlfriend, and lots of buddies.
Kinzinger and his girlfriend met in pilot training, became good friends and started dating about a year ago. She’s still in active duty in the Air Force and is stationed in Charleston, S.C.
Many of the friends Kinzinger made in the Air Force have been hitting him up for visits in Washington, D.C. — so much so that the new congressman is realizing his personal time is dwindling.
“Every week [I] get probably about 2 or 3 people who say, ‘Hey, I’m going to be in D.C. next week, so how about we just meet up?’ ” he said.
Kinzinger stays fit by running and weightlifting, but nothing could have prepared him for the physical test of a lifetime when, in 2006, he wrestled away the knife of a man who had cut a woman’s throat on a street in Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Red Cross later named him Hero of the Year.
The incident “just really drove home to me that life is about something bigger than yourself,” he said. “This is what I try to do in politics — it’s not about earning a paycheck, it’s about doing something good that you believe in.”