It’s official: Colorado’s Betsy Markey turns heads. Dubbed a “Woman of the West,” the Fort Collins Democrat won a spot on The Hill’s annual 50 Most Beautiful People list, posted Wednesday by the Capitol Hill-insider publication.
“The congresswoman comes from a big family,” Markey spokesman Ben Marter wrote The Colorado Independent in an e-mail. “Apparently they all got together to organize a pretty aggressive letter-writing campaign.”
The 53-year-old mother of three rubs shoulder pads with a mix of lawmakers, aides, lobbyists and even a few journalists on the highly subjective list. This year, the beautiful tend to be Democrats (30 on the list, outnumbering 14 self-identified Republicans and six who claimed nonpartisan status) and lean to the West. The anointed range in age from 21 to 70.
Noting “there were two kinds of attractiveness: hot and hot for D.C.,” the Capitol Hill Style blog takes apart the list with a keen eye and suitable snark. (Since Markey didn’t make the Top 10, she escapes the blogger’s barbs, which are selectively applied to the bottom 40.) D.C. Twitterers tweet away their reactions too.
Neighboring freshman lawmaker Martin Heinrich, 37, an Albuquerque Democrat and father of two, leapfrogged his way to the top of the list, edging out Maine beauty Kay Gerard, a 25-year-old scheduler for Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who earns the No. 2 spot. After the Top 10, the rest of the beauties, including Markey, aren’t ranked.
The Coloradoan’s Bob Moore suggests Markey’s designation could work to her advantage in her 2010 campaign, proposing in his blog she proclaim “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” the old Pantene shampoo slogan, in her television commercials.
Here’s the complete entry on Markey, penned by The Hill’s Kris Kitto:
Rep. Betsy Markey
Woman of the West
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colo.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Married
Rep. Betsy Markey’s pedometer has become so well integrated into her wardrobe that she nearly forgot to take it off for her 50 Most Beautiful People photo.
She’s grown dependent on the step counter because walking is one of the few physical activities she can fit into her congressional schedule.
“I like to play tennis, but I haven’t played tennis in about a year and a half — not since I started the campaign,” the freshman lawmaker says. “Until we got these pedometers, I was thinking I don’t get any exercise while I’m here because I never go to the gym. You don’t have time to exercise.”
Markey doesn’t have a car in Washington, so she walks to work from her house on East Capitol Street, and then, naturally, races around the Capitol during a typical day in Congress.
“The first day I had [the pedometer] on, I walked over four miles by the end of the day,” she says. “And I said, ‘Well, I am getting some exercise after all.’ ”
Her weekends at home sound like what many people imagine the standard activities in Colorado to be: strolls along a mountain river and play sessions with the dog.
Markey says her favorite family activity is to spend time at the Poudre River, and her family is in the middle of training their new 4-month-old yellow Labrador, Bella.
The congresswoman has lived in Colorado for 13 years but still admires the view of the Rocky Mountains.
“When I get off the plane [from Washington], and I start driving home … you just drive directly west,” she says. “You see those beautiful mountains and blue skies. [That’s] really my favorite time of the week.”