Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) spends his long flights prepping notes and creating checklists for staff meetings.
In the early 1980s, during a routine flight from Washington, D.C., to California, Rep. Pete Stark met a young entrepreneur who was interested in donating computers to schools but was stymied by the way the tax code treated such donations.
That chance encounter between the crusty Democratic Congressman and the young computer whiz named Steve Jobs eventually led to the creation of a charitable deduction allowance for computer donations.
Most West Coast lawmakers don’t experience such life-altering events while heading home for the weekend.
So what are they doing up there?
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) — in typical Don Young fashion — takes solace in a good rest and a politically incorrect wish for his 10-hour flight.
“I always hope I get to sit next to a pretty blonde,” he says. “But it never happens.”
Rep. Mazie Hirono uses the 5,000 miles between D.C. and Hawaii to catch up on work, and she finds home cooking is a motivation.
“I love going home and being able to bring back my favorite Hawaiian dishes,” the Democratic lawmaker says.
For dozens of Members in the Pacific time zone and beyond, finding a routine can help fill long hours and thousands of miles spent in the sky. A few sat down with Roll Call to talk about their regular westward journeys.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.