Heard on the Hill

Take Five: Shelley Moore Capito

West Virginia GOP senator on life in and around "the biggest zoo in America"

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito adorns her office with political cartoons portraying her father, former West Virginia Gov. Arch A. Moore. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In this week’s Take Five, West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito  talks about softball, running before work, and helping boost young women’s confidence.  

Q : What do you like about participating in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game ?  

A : It’s a really great way to get to know the women in the House and the Senate. Since I started with it when I was in the House, it was a good way to get back and see my buddies from the House. I’m just a natural competitor. I think we all are, and you can see that in the dugouts. It raises money for a great cause.  

I have a little [Volkswagen] Cabrio here that was my daughter’s 14 years ago, so I come buzzing by and pick up my crew and then we go up to the practice and then we go buzzing back. It’s pretty funny.  

Q : You studied zoology in college. What’s your best story from that experience?  

A : It was pre-med and, you know, it was hard. I say it prepared me for serving in the biggest zoo in America , so it’s a guaranteed laugh on it when I talk about my zoology degree. Science is interesting because it’s a progressive kind of way of thinking, a logical way of thinking. And I think that’s kind of the way I think here, in a more serious way.  

Q : How do you find time to make working out a part of your day?  

A : I ran this morning — I ran by John Cornyn. He was coming one way and I was coming the other. And I think Kevin McCarthy passed me on his bike. I run out of my apartment, up to the Lincoln Memorial.  

If I don’t get it in in the morning, it’s tough for me to do it at night. I’m just pretty much worn out by the time I get to the end of the day. And for women, exercising midday is a lot more difficult. I hear the guys coming out, ‘Oh, you gotta work out before lunch.’ I don’t know many women who want to get dressed twice in one day.  

Q : Besides West Virginia’s pepperoni roll, what is your favorite state food?  

A : Especially this time of year, it's fresh corn off the back of a truck at the farmers market. It’s melt-in-your-mouth, just delicious. And I’ve spoiled my family now because I cut it off the cob for them. Corn, butter and salt, you can’t beat it.  

Q :  As the first GOP woman elected to the House from West Virginia, and the first woman elected to the Senate from West Virginia, what advice do you give young women hoping to break barriers?  

A : I started a program called ‘Girls Rise Up’ and we go into the fifth grade, get the girls and I really put it on a three-legged stool for them. One is physical fitness and wellness, one is education and how important that is, but the third one, I think, is the hard one. And that’s the confidence [leg].  

I tell them to take the risk and don’t be afraid to fail — change directions. I was pre-med and I changed directions. I was a stay-at-home mom and I changed directions.

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