Members find me-time

Although bettering our country consumes most of their waking hours, members of Congress occasionally need to get their minds off the job.

So how do lawmakers spend their precious little “me-time”? Popular relaxation activities include exercising, spending time with family and reading.

“Right now I’m reading Gandhi,” Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) said. “Reading gives me new knowledge and it also gets my mind off the job.”

Rep. G.K Butterfield (D-N.C.) surfs the Internet or takes a trip down memory lane when he wants to unwind.

“Sometimes when I’m thinking about my childhood friends, I call them up and speak to them for a while,” Butterfield said.

Other members get their minds off work in less orthodox ways. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) builds and flies airplanes in his spare time. He has done so for 20 years, and hopes his next plane will hit 250 mph.

“It’s a total freedom to be up in the air and be able to fly wherever I want.” Graves said.

Sometimes, Graves takes his children into the friendly skies. He has trained them to fly as well — even the youngest, his 10-year-old daughter, can land a small plane.

When the skies are cloudy or if they’ve been reading legal documents all day, some reps just want to plop down in front of the tube. Both Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R- W.Va.) like the TV show “24.”

“I also like to exercise,” Capito said. She runs on the Mall four or five mornings a week.

“To exercise has a lot of benefits. But it also gets me outside and it clears my mind,” she said.

 Spending time with loved ones at home brings lots of members peace. Rep. Jason Altmire (D- Pa.) tries to see his wife and two daughters as much as possible.

“We spend time together at home, or if I’m off on a Sunday we go to church together,” the freshman said. “But I haven’t found a way to relax here in D.C. yet.”

Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) also finds his daughters’ company to have a calming effect. The eldest is a great athlete and the youngest is a professional actress who spends a lot of time in California, even though she’s only 12.

“I love to watch them both perform. It makes me escape from the stress and the job,” Andrews said.