Meet the Lawmaker: Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), 1st District

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which of your colleagues would you want to be stuck with?
I guess I would say [Rep.] Darlene Hooley [D-Ore.], and the reason is, she’s already my roommate, so I’m used to her.

If you could be another lawmaker, who would you be?

There’s so many choices. I’d be [House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman] John Dingell [D-Mich.] because I would be able to chair the best committee in the Congress.

You’d be willing to switch genders?
Oh, well, I don’t know about that. I would not be willing to ever switch genders, but I still think it would be fun to be chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Finish this sentence: My favorite place in the whole world is …

A little alpine lake called Anderson Lake. It’s a beautiful, pristine, clear, cold lake. You can see snowcapped mountains all year round from there.

Do you have a nickname?
Not in general, but my sister, Kathy, calls me Dee.

What is your middle name?
Louise. It’s after my dad’s middle name. His was Louis.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I love cherry pie.

Have you ever had a near-death experience?

If you could fire a colleague, who would it be?
I would fire [Sen.] Tom Coburn [R-Okla.] for holding up so much good legislation and for promoting policies around sex and reproduction that are not based on science.

What is your proudest moment?
When I passed the Stem Cell Enhancement Act.

What is the last book you read other than the one you recently published, Sex, Science and Stem Cells?

The last book I read is called She Was by Janis Hallowell. It’s about a former 1960s radical who has gone underground and is a dentist in Denver who the FBI is closing in on. It’s kind of a thriller about what she does as the FBI is closing in on her, the family relationships and the life she has built. Janis and I were a little support team when we were both writing our books. This is Janis’s second novel, so she gave me tips and advice when I was working on my book.

What is your favorite dessert/hobby/meal?
Dessert: Cherry pie.
Hobby: I’ve been singing in choirs lately. I sing in my church choir and then, in July, just because I had nothing else to do, I went up and sang in a choir with the Colorado Music Festival. I also love to knit. Sweaters and socks. Now I am knitting a shawl.
Meal: There’s this tomato basil tart that I make every summer that is not just my favorite, it’s my family’s favorite. You can only make it with absolutely ripe tomatoes.

Do you believe in UFOs?

If you could invite five people — living or dead — to dinner, who would they be?
I would invite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Marcel Proust, Alice Waters — a famous San Francisco chef — Virginia Woolf and Thomas Jefferson.

After a long night of votes, how do you unwind?

I go to bed. I sleep, that’s what I do.