Liberals in love: It’s the Democrats’ year for finding mates, too

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) is cherishing every day of his new marriage — literally.

“Well, I’ve been married now 32 weeks and four days,” the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman said last week when asked about life with his new bride, Irene Hirano.

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How does he like his new marital status?

“Very good,” the 84-year-old senator said. “I love it.”

Inouye and a handful of other Democratic lawmakers have gotten engaged or tied the knot since last Valentine’s Day, proving they could vote on bailout legislation by day and court a love interest by night. (Perhaps single Republicans will be more successful during the 111th Congress in looking for potential mates.)

Inouye and Hirano got married in Los Angeles in May but met 25 years ago. Hirano is the president and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and Inouye has been on the museum’s board of directors. It’s the second marriage for both of them.

They wed in a small ceremony at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, Calif., and honeymooned in Carmel, Calif.

“I am most fortunate to have as my partner a beautiful, accomplished, intelligent and worldly woman,” Inouye said in a statement at the time.

Two House lawmakers got married over the New Year’s holiday. Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) was for a long time a swinging bachelor — having once hit on actress Kerry Washington at a congressional hearing — but settled down recently with Tara Johnson, who works for his home state’s forestry commission. Davis, 41, announced their engagement in September and they married on New Year’s Day.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) was more secretive about his love life. Without much warning, Welch announced in early January that he and Margaret Cheney, a former representative in the Vermont legislature, got married on Jan. 2.

Shortly after the announcement, he said in an interview with The Hill that the wedding took place near the fireplace in Cheney’s home and was limited to family and friends.

This is also the second marriage for Welch and Cheney.

“It was nice to do something that was intimate, with close friends and family and, frankly, without a lot of fanfare,” the 61-year-old congressman said a few days after the wedding. “I’m quite lucky.”

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) announced her engagement to retired Delta Airlines pilot James Cieslak just before the new Congress began. On Jan. 5, Tauscher, 57, released a statement saying Cieslak proposed to her over the holidays. The two met through Tauscher’s sister Sally at a fall 2007 family function.

Her fiance already has a reputation for being quite the gentleman. A reporter for the California newspaper the Contra Costa Times wrote in January about a recent meeting with him that left a favorable impression.

“I’ve met Cieslak several times, most recently during my interview with Tauscher during the Democratic National Convention in Denver where the two held hands beneath the restaurant table,” reporter Lisa Vorderbrueggen wrote. “I was impressed with him. He was tall and distinguished looking, as you would expect in a pilot. He pulled out my chair. He poured me a cup of coffee. At a later event, he brought me a diet soda and even offered to bring me food! (This might surprise you but the press isn’t used to such nice treatment),” Vorderbueggen added.

This is the second marriage for both.

Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) announced that she is “unofficially engaged” after revealing in November that she was pregnant. Her “unofficial” fiance is Jim Sullivan, a government and public relations consultant. It will be the second marriage for both but the first child for the 40-year-old Sanchez, who is due in May.

“Congresswoman Sánchez and her long-term partner, Jim Sullivan, will be planning a wedding as soon as she can figure out when Dodgers stadium is free to host the ceremony,” press secretary Marsha Catron said.

The congressional marriage trend could continue, as there are still several single lawmakers walking the halls of the Capitol. Twenty-seven-year-old freshman Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) might be the most eligible member of Congress, and Reps. Ben Luján (D-N.M.), 36, and Glenn Nye (D-Va.), 34, are also single.

Happy hunting.