By James Downing - 02/28/06 12:00 AM EST
REP. TOM ALLEN (D-MAINE)
Time in Congress: 11 years
Significant other: Diana
Resides: Portland, Maine
If you could fire one lawmaker who would it be?
Allen: Well, that's an easy one. That's easy - Tom DeLay [R-Texas]. I think the people are going to fire him. I think his district is going to throw him out. I mean, he has done very serious damage to the House of Representatives.
If you weren't yourself, which lawmaker would you prefer to be?
Allen: I don't know. I mean, I have trouble imagining being someone else. There are lots of people I respect here. Lots and lots. Dave Obey [D-Wis.], George Miller [D-Calif.], Sherrod Brown [D-Ohio], Rosa DeLauro [D-Conn.], Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.].
Finish this sentence: My favorite place in the whole world is …
Allen: This old family farm where I spent summers. It's the place where I grew up in the summers. The woods and the fields. I had a very large group of cousins, and we played baseball. The places that you inhabit when you're young have a special hold on people.
What are some of your craziest constituent requests that you've gotten?
Allen: Well, I would say the one that tops them all is the people that call in asking me to get the president to turn off the satellites that they think are spying on them.
What was something that shocked you about how Congress works when you got here?
Allen: I noticed it when I came here, but it has gotten increasingly worse throughout the DeLay era, which was the determination of the Republican majority not to allow debate on issues of importance so that they could control the outcome. I have been surprised at how often you can describe the final outcome as rigged.
After a long night of late votes how do you unwind?
Allen: Go to bed. I don't unwind; I just go to bed. I don't have any trouble sleeping.
What household chore do you hate most out of any?
Allen: To the great disappointment of my wife, I am not a cook. And now we have a son-in-law who cooks, and it reminds her of what might have been. But I do laundry and iron shirts and take out the trash, and I work in the yard. But I like all those things.