Meet the Lawmaker: Sen. Paul Kirk (D-Mass.)

What I like about Washington is the importance of its history and what has taken place here as we look back — everything from advancements in education to civil rights. Also, the majesty of the capital city is not to be forgotten.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Sen. Paul Kirk: A lot of different things. I went through a sports phase and wanted to be a professional athlete. Growing up, my family was in public service, and I thought of that as a profession early on.

If you weren’t yourself, which lawmaker would you prefer to be?
Sen. Paul Kirk: First of all, I’ve been humbled and honored to follow Sen. Kennedy [D-Mass.]. I think he will be written about as one of the most effective legislators of all time, so if I can say something like this about anybody, it’d be him.

Finish this sentence: My favorite place in the world is …
Sen. Paul Kirk: I wouldn’t select a particular location. I feel like it’s a place where you can reflect on nature, be peaceful and enjoy God’s gift.

What has been your biggest political mistake?
Sen. Paul Kirk: I may have caused some hard feelings when I was chairman of the Democratic Party. Sometimes when you have leadership responsibilities like that, it goes with the territory. But I can look back on that experience and be proud of how I managed it.

Who’s your favorite member of the opposite party?
Sen. Paul Kirk: Of my colleagues in the Senate that I’ve gotten to know, I have great admiration and respect for Sen. [Olympia] Snowe of Maine. I had the opportunity of working with her on the JFK Profile in Courage Award … I think she’s thoughtful and balanced.

What household chore do you dislike?
Sen. Paul Kirk: That’s easy … I enjoy working outdoors, but the indoor chores, I don’t like many of them.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sen. Paul Kirk: It’s not a pleasure as much as a regret that I don’t have time to exercise that much because of all the pressures of time.