Heard on the Hill

Take Five: Sen. Tom Carper

Delaware Democrat hasn't been sick for a day of work in 35 years

Delaware Sen. Thomas R. Carper has been a Detroit Tigers fan since the third grade. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper, 69, of Delaware talks about the Detroit Tigers, his workout regimen and his love for music.

Q: Which beach on the Delaware shore is your favorite?

A: That’s like asking me to choose between my children. When our kids were growing up, we would go many summers and rent a house in Bethany [Beach]. My wife and I spent a weekend in Rehoboth [Beach] a month ago and it was just glorious to go for runs on the boardwalk and on down to Dewey Beach and back.

Q: When do you find time to run on a work day?

A: I got up this morning about 5:15 a.m. in Delaware and I went out and ran. When I was 21, I went to Pensacola and before the Navy put us in airplanes, they put us through a really vigorous physical condition regiment. When I left Pensacola, I was in great shape and I just said I want to stay on this edge for as long as I can.

I work out almost every day. I get up usually about 5:30, and three days a week, I lift weights at the central YMCA in Wilmington, Delaware, two miles from my house. It’s on the way to the train station. Two days I run — Thursdays, four or five miles, Sundays six or eight. And then two days, I ride the exercise bike. I try to do 600 calories in less than 40 minutes. I have not missed a day's work from sickness in over 35 years. And, I think it does something for my brain.

[Shaken By Amtrak Derailment, Carper Plans Hospital Visit]

Carper talks about a baseball signed by Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline in his Hart Building office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Carper talks about a baseball signed by Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline in his Hart Building office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Q: Why are you a Detroit Tigers fan?

A: In third grade, my best friend Billy Sackatt moved to Michigan and went to a Tigers game. And, he wrote and told and about it. For no other earthly reason, I became this lifelong, avid Tigers fan. The last week the Tigers played at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, I was governor of Delaware and they invited me to come and throw the opening pitch. After I threw the opening pitch, I went up and did the play-by-play in the broadcast booth.

Q: Tell me about how you were a music promoter?

A: Every Sunday afternoon, [the radio] played the top 50 songs of the week. I listened to it every Sunday. When I was a teenager, sometimes after school, we’d watch "American Bandstand."

When I was at Ohio State, I was in charge of the [ROTC] ball in 1968. I said, let’s have a rock ‘n’ roll band. We brought in a rock ‘n’ roll band from Canada — that was the first concert I promoted. And the last concert I promoted was about four years ago when I turned 65. We had three of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands in Delaware play and had one heck of a party.

Q: Who’s your favorite singer right now?

A: There was a group that I heard Sunday called Field Report. They’re relatively new and really, really good. I love Florence and the Machine. I saw Paul McCartney last year, he’s still wonderful.

Last movie seen? 42 Last book read? Book of Genesis Role model? Former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton  Closest colleague? Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney

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