In 1983, while working as a White House aide, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) proposed to his wife during a Baltimore Orioles baseball game, hiring an airplane to fly overhead with a banner reading, “Amey this is the inning to say yes.”
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) holds a House seat that changed hands four times in four elections — Democrat Joe Schwarz won the seat in 2004 after Republican Nick Smith retired; Walberg won in 2006; Democrat Mark Schauer unseated Walberg in 2008; and Walberg recaptured the seat in 2010.
Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) earned the rank of command sergeant major in the Army National Guard, making him the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress.
In 1967, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), as a student at the U.S. Naval Academy, lost a boxing championship to Oliver L. North, who would later become a household name for his role in the Iran-Contra affair.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is the first African-American woman to serve in Congress from Alabama.
Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) is so popular in her homestate of Maine that in 2008 the town of Bethel, hoping for a record, built a 122-foot snow woman and named it “Olympia.”
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) is recognized by the American Humanist Association as the highest-ranking U.S. official and the first member of Congress to proclaim that he is an atheist. Stark says he’s a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being.
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), a wine enthusiast, grows organic sauvignon grapes. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi owns a vineyard in Thompson’s hometown and California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is part owner of the Alpha Omega winery.
Sen. Mark Udall (DCO) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) are the first pair to represent their state in the Senate as freshmen since 1995, when Republicans Bill Frist and Fred Thompson represented Tennessee.
Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) is a former Black Panther who served six months in prison on a weapons charge. Rush also is the only politician to ever defeat Barack Obama in an election — a 2000 Democratic primary for the House.
House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) says his philosophy of individualism and entrepreneurial capitalism was influenced most deeply by novelist and objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand.
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), the youngest member of Congress, posed bare-chested for the cover of Men’s Health magazine.
Reps. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) are both lottery winners. Sensenbrenner put his $250,000 toward charities and investments;
McCarthy invested the $5,000 from his scratch-off ticket to open “Kevin O’s Deli.”
Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY) learned to speak English by listening to Frank Sinatra records.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is the first person ever to have served as chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture panel.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) says John Wayne taught him how to drink tequila.
Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) thrived in the courtroom as the prosecutor for Ada County, but his efforts to crack down on narcotics almost cost him his life when leaders of a drug ring made a failed attempt to plant a bomb in his car. Risch became Idaho’s shortest-tenured governor when he filled out the seven-month term of Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, who had left the state in 2006 to be President George W. Bush’s Interior secretary.
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) is perhaps best known as the grandson of Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney. As a youth, he spent summers working as a ball boy. He went on to play football at Washington and Jefferson College and Syracuse University.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) is the only member of Congress to have served with President Obama when Obama served in the Illinois Senate.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is the only member of Congress who is also a member of the Republican National Committee.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) is an accomplished stock-car racer and won an award for short-track driver achievement.
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) was the original lead detective in the Green River serial killer task force. Almost 20 years later, as the King County sheriff, he announced the arrest of Gary Ridgway in 2001.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) took on organized crime as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. A bomb was once found under the hood of his car.
Rep. James B. Renacci (R-OH) has been an owner of an Arena Football League team, the Columbus Destroyers, and a minor league baseball team, the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League.
Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) won the South Dakota Snow Queen contest, an interview-based competition that sent her around the state giving speeches.
Rep. John W. Olver (D-MA) attended a three-room schoolhouse, graduating at age 15. He finished college when he was 18 and earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at age 24.
As a girl, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) slept above stacks of the Congressional Record. Her father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., was a Maryland congressman and stored them under her bed in their Baltimore rowhouse.
Rep. Tom Petri’s (R-WI) first job was hosting a radio show called “Teen Time,” a weekly program that made him the state’s youngest on-air personality.
Pedro R. Pierluisi (D), the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico, is the only member of Congress with a four-year term.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) have shared a Capitol Hill rowhouse of such notorious disarray that it merited a New York Times write-up and a visit from an ABC News television crew in early 2007.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is the first woman to represent Alaska, the first person ever appointed to the Senate by her father and the first person to win election as a write-in candidate since Strom Thurmond in 1954.
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) taught himself to play guitar and once opened for banjo legend Earl Scruggs. Michigan Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter once played in a band called Sir Funk-a-Lot. Murphy also dug graves to earn money for college.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) once threw a party for other Ben Nelsons. Twelve people from Nebraska, 10 from other states and one dog attended.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) was so skilled at back flips, twists and other moves that while at Texas Tech he joined the Flying Matadors trampoline troupe.