Love in Congress

Attending the same school, the two started dating during Chaffetz’s senior year football season at Brigham Young University. The only time Julie would enter the stadium was after halftime when the ticket gate opened and admission was free.

“Any woman too cheap to pay the student ticket price is a woman after my own heart!” Chaffetz said in an e-mail.

She was much more interested in her studies than in football games, he said.

On their first date, Chaffetz entertained Julie by taking her to the news station where he worked. After watching a taping of the evening news, he used coupons to for a free yogurt dessert.


“Julie had such a great time she almost didn’t notice that I hadn’t spent a single dime,” Chaffetz said.

After dating for more than a year, Chaffetz and Julie married in Mesa, Ariz., 19 years ago this February at a Latter-day Saints temple near her home.

Chaffetz made the mistake of booking a 7 a.m. departure the following day and the two nearly missed their connecting flight for a honeymoon trip to Maui when falling asleep in a McDonald’s at Los Angeles International Airport, he said.

After becoming a congressman in 2008, Chaffetz experienced the workload of serving constituents but his family is still the center of his life, he said during a CNN commentary in October. He learned to adjust his schedule to ensure opportunities to spend time with his wife and three children.

Still practicing his old ways, Chaffetz saves $1,500 a month when living in Washington by sleeping on a cot, according to his website, http://chaffetz.house.gov/.

— Anthony C. Lange

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas)

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) and his wife Helen celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in January. They married at the same church in Houston where they had grown up together.

"We met in the church nursery, but did not start liking each other as boyfriend / girlfriend until we were in the eighth grade," Green explains. "We started going steady in the 11th grade, and waited until after college to get married."



Helen Green has served as her husband's campaign manager since 1973, when the latter began his career as a state representative.

"[Helen] has always been very supportive, and we share the same political views and goals," Green said.

Of course, running for Congress does not come without compromises. On their 22nd anniversary, Green took his wife to three consecutive Chamber of Commerce dinners as part of their campaign for Congress.

"We did not stay at any dinner long enough to eat, and ended up eating a hot dog at James Coney Island on the way home,” Green said.

— John Owre

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.)

Before Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Al Wiederspahn were married, they were running against each other for the Wyoming House of Representatives.

Lummis, a Republican, and Wiederspahn, a Democrat, both won in a multimember district and became House colleagues. They married in 1983 in Cheyenne, with only their parents and a few relatives present.

“I set my irrigation dams in the meadow in the morning, and we married in the afternoon," Lummis said. "Then we had barbecue in the church basement. Seriously, barbecue — what was I thinking?"

So do the ideological differences between Lummis and Wiederspahn have any bearing on their marriage? Not a chance, according to Lummis.

"Al served 10 years in the Wyoming House and Senate as a Democrat. I served 14 years in the House and Senate as a Republican," Lummis said. "Eight of those years we served together, both before and after we were married.”

“Bipartisanship works — but you have to talk to each other, listen to each other, and treat each other with respect,” she added.

— John Owre