Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My Eventful Trip Home

I'll talk about my novel, Christmas and everything else shortly, but before I forget, a quick anecdote. My flight home on the third (Saturday) included not only Janet Napolitano sitting in first class -- I shook her hand, told her I volunteered for her in college and admonished her to "help fewer people die in the desert" -- but also myself sitting right next to newly minted freshman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who took over the seat in the nothern part of the state formerly held by the corrupt Rick Renzi.

I didn't know it was her until we'd almost landed. She'd been in my window seat during takeoff, so I was sitting in the middle and Stephanie was sitting near the aisle, and I spent most of the time reading or sleeping or talking to Steph or trying not to step on the other woman's violin case, which was parked under the seat in front of me for space reasons. (She was at least nice about it.) Right before we landed, she mentioned she was trying to play more often and then said, "I'm about to start my first term in Congress, so I don't know how much time I'll have." I asked what her name was, she told me and I said with surprise, "You're Ann Kirkpatrick?" She said something like, "Oh, you don't really know. . ." But I cut her off and said "You took over Rick Renzi's seat." She was impressed that I knew who she was, and we talked for six or seven minutes about her kids reminding her that she's still their mom, not to get any ideas, etc. etc. and how, basically, I'm looking for a job. So I'm going to head into her office later in the week. She said she didn't know which positions her chief of staff had filled already, but I think I at least made a good impression.

Also, I can say with all honesty that she's a very nice person. She said her favorite freshman reps that she met during orientation are Leonard Lance (a Republican from New Jersey) and all the new Dems from New Mexico (Harry Teague, Marty Heinrich, one other I can't remember right now). She's trying to get on the Homeland Security Committee to work with Napolitano on border stuff, even though her district is about as far from the border as Arizona gets. When Steph and I were picking up our luggage, we saw her talking to Napolitano and her entourage and I wished I could go over there or had something substantial to say, but we just grabbed our bags and went home. Anyway, it was fun. I wish I'd known earlier who she was -- I could have bent her ear a little more.


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