Welcome to our Director’s Spotlight. Since we haven’t been able to meet in person for a while, we thought it might be nice to get to know our Board of Directors a little better by having them share their answers to some common questions. Every few weeks we will feature a new Director. Enjoy!

Eileen Filler-Corn
Eileen Filler-CornSpeaker of the Virginia House of Delegates

What’s the most recent book you read or are currently reading?
It’s so hard to maintain a reading schedule on top of my duties as Speaker. I honestly think the last large thing that I read was probably our budget bill!

If you could meet a historical figure who would it be and why?
President John F. Kennedy. As someone who was such a transformational leader, who literally brought our country into a new era, all of the policies and lasting impact he left, even today.

Outside of the legislature what are your hobbies?
Spending time with my family, bike riding, walking, going to the beach, I just love spending time outside and with them.

What was it like to be not only the first Female speaker in Virginia, but the first Jewish speaker?
I remember when I was thinking about running for office, the first lady of Virginia, Anne Holton, called me and she explained to me how important it was to have women in these positions, and how, yes, you can be a mother and also a legislator. I hung up the phone and had made up my mind that I would run! It’s just hard to believe it’s taken 400 years for the first woman and the first person of Jewish faith to lead the chamber.

Have you binge watched anything good during COVID?
The Queen’s Gambit – I loved it, it exceeded my expectations.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
No go-to. I do like karaoke and I really do like singing. One of my favorite singers is Celine Dion.

If you could go back in time, what year would you pick?
I think it would have been fun to experience the roaring 20’s with the art and clothing and music. I think it would have been an exciting era to be a part of.

What’s your favorite family tradition?
We’re Jewish, so I love getting together with our extended family for Passover every year. We missed it last year, so we’re looking forward to it again this year.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I have little patience for cynical people who don’t put in the time or energy to do something right or make a difference.

What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say ‘worry less, never be afraid to be yourself and know your worth and your value.’

What is something people might not know about you?
I’m a pescatarian, I do eat fish but I don’t eat shellfish. I’ve been doing it since ‘82. These days it’s so much easier than it used to be!

Karen Camper
Karen CamperHouse Minority Leader, Tennessee

What’s the most recent book you read or are currently reading ?
It’s an old book that I’ve had for years, and I recently picked it up again. It’s Black Labor White Wealth by Claud Anderson

If you could meet an historical figure who would it be and why?
This is going to probably sound cliche, but I would say the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. First, I was born on his birthday, and when they put up the monument to him in Washington, I went to that.  Standing there I felt like it was a sacred time for me with him. I felt some connection based on who he was and who I have come to be. I would like to meet him and I would like to have discussions with him on current topics. 

Outside of the legislature what are your hobbies?
Lip Syncing! I’m a national and international champion! 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would go to Nigeria. I would like to go back to the continent of Africa, and right now I’ll say Nigeria specifically because of my current interests.

Have you binge watched anything good during Covid?
Lupin, I didn’t expect to binge it but I did. 

What is your favorite food/meal?
Greens and hot water cornbread! I could eat them every day.

What is your go-to karaoke song?
Tina Turner, Rolling on a River

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep and why?
21 hours. I was in the military and we were on a field expedition and it was a challenging mission. I had to be up to make sure that the general got the information he needed. A lot of pressure was on me to perform, it was freezing cold, such a tough mission. 

If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
A fox!

What advice would you give your younger self?
Go with your first mind. To me, your first mind is your greater self telling you, and when you don’t listen it’s usually the wrong answer.

What is something interesting that people might not know about you?
People don’t know my real age! They always think I’m younger than I am! I’m 63, and no one ever believes me. 

Pete Schwartzkopf
Pete SchwartzkopfSpeaker of the House , Delaware

What’s the most recent book you read or are currently reading ?
The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly.  I look forward to reading former Speaker John Boehner’s book On the House, A Washington Memoir.

Are you an organ donor?
I have been listed as an organ donor on my license since the program was initiated decades ago.  In 2006, I donated my right kidney to a friend who was dying of Polycystic Kidney Disease. That was 15 years ago and she is still doing fine.

If you could meet a historical figure who would it be and why?
George Washington. The challenges he faced as the Founding Father of our country intrigue me. Knowing how our county has progressed, I would love to ask him what, if anything, he would change in our constitution as to how it is interpreted in the present day versus in his time period.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep and why?
Three days. As a State Trooper, I was part of a team investigating a homicide and we followed the leads and evidence until we made the arrest.

If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
My golden retriever! That dog was treated as my fifth child.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Patience. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. 

What is your favorite quote?
If you want to be a successful leader, you need to learn how to play chess while those around you are playing checkers!

Mac McCutcheon
Mac McCutcheonSpeaker of the House , Alabama

What’s the most recent book you read or are currently reading ?
Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin

If you could meet a historical figure who would it be and why?
I would have been privileged to meet President Abraham Lincoln.  The leadership skills he possessed were second to none.  A divided nation and a government trying to function as a democracy had to be very demanding and challenging.

Outside of the legislature what are your hobbies?
Fishing, golf and working on the farm

What’s your all time favorite movie/tv show?
Narcos on Netflix

What is your favorite food/meal?
Pinto beans and cornbread

What is your go-to karaoke song?
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? “Man of Constant Sorrow”

If you could go back in time, what year would you pick?
1970, the year I graduated High School

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep and why?
48 hours, working a homicide case

What’s your favorite family tradition?
Having the family gather around the Christmas Tree on Christmas morning, hold hands and give thanks for the year and its blessings!

If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
My wife’s dog

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Highway drivers driving in the left lane on the interstate highway

What advice would you give your younger self?
Slow down and take time to enjoy the day you have.

Favorite Quote?
“I am not as good as I once was, but I am as good once as I ever was!” – Toby Keith

MARTIN M. LOONEY
MARTIN M. LOONEYSenate President Pro Tempore, Connecticut

What’s the most recent book you read or are currently reading ?
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

If you could meet an historical figure who would it be and why?
President Franklin D. Roosevelt because he understood and persuasively communicated the power of active, efficient, enlightened government to be a  force of good in society

Outside of the legislature what are your hobbies?
Reading history and fiction and watching classic films and sports

What’s your favorite vacation destination?
Ireland, England or Scotland

What’s your all time favorite movie/tv show?
Casablanca.  Also The Maltese Falcon and The Godfather I

What is your favorite food/meal?
Filet mignon, mashed potatoes, green beans with apple pie a la mode for dessert

What is your go-to karaoke song?
The Wild Colonial Boy

If you could go back in time, what year would you pick?
1962 – the year  I entered high school

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep and why?
36 hours studying for exams in college and in final days of legislative sessions

What’s your favorite family tradition?
Thanksgiving Day with extended family

If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
Husky dog pulling a sled

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Constituents who have not informed themselves and ask me to support a bill I have introduced

What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn to quickly identify people who are excessively self-absorbed

Favorite Quote?
“A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few.” – Judge Learned Hand

What is something interesting that people might not know about you?
My sports trivia “claim to fame” is being able to name all of the Heisman Trophy winners, including the year of honor and their colleges.