By Kris Kitto - 01/31/12 12:52 AM EST
• Age: 53
• Residence: Amherst, N.Y.
• Time in Congress: 8 months
• Significant other: William Hochul
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Rep. Hochul: After my first plane ride, I wanted to be a flight attendant. I thought it’d be exciting to see the world. And that changed to wanting to be a FBI agent. I’d seen a television series about the FBI and I thought it was very exciting and an opportunity to fight for and protect people.
And then after a trip to Washington when I was in eighth grade and learning about government from a social studies teacher, Mr. James, I decided I wanted to work on Capitol Hill one day.
What is your favorite hobby?
Rep. Hochul: I enjoy spending time riding my bicycle and taking long walks with my husband.
What do you consider to be your biggest political achievement?
Rep. Hochul: Probably winning this election last May 24. We had overcome extensive odds, particularly the Republican enrollment edge, and we were outspent considerably. We weren’t expected to win.
What is something you’re passionate about?
Rep. Hochul: I am very passionate about fighting for the people in my district, and that takes many forms, whether I’m speaking on the floor on behalf of the small businesses — I know how tough it is to get up and open their shops every day — or working for my farmers. I’ve got a large agricultural district, and these people are so hardworking and they don’t ask for much, and I love being their voice as well … Just collectively I feel very privileged to be the voice of the people in my district.
What is your favorite place in the world?
Rep. Hochul: I’m at most peace when I’m sitting on a hill overlooking Lake Erie, watching the sunset and enjoying a hot dog and iced tea. It’s a very serene setting — people do not know this, but Lake Erie has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the country.
What is your least favorite household chore?
Rep. Hochul: It’s got to be cleaning my cat’s litter box. I can handle anything, but I really don’t like cleaning the litter box. I have two cats — one just died. Fortunately, my husband will do it when he’s around.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Rep. Hochul: Everyone around me knows it is chocolate — deep, rich, chocolate. I find it irresistible. Can’t say no. My staff is always surprising me — they leave chocolate chip cookies on my desk every day.