Ken and John Set Up House
Colorado Brother Duo Inaugurates Northwest D.C. Loft
It’s not everyday that the media invades your kitchen. But when you’re the brothers Salazar of Colorado — Congress’ recently elected sibling act and two of the highest profile members of the 109th’s freshman class — it’s all in a day’s work.
On Tuesday morning, as Ken Salazar prepared to head to the Capitol to be sworn in as a Senator and his brother John readied himself for his swearing-in at the House, a dozen or so reporters and cameramen jammed into their 1,200-square foot apartment on Massachusetts Avenue Northwest for a brief open house, of sorts.
Like the Sanchez sisters — Democratic California Reps. Loretta and Linda — the two Democrats have opted to add one more title to the list of ties that bind: that of roommate.
As John Salazar explained, “Things are very expensive here in D.C., so we figured by sharing the rent we could be able to afford something decent, livable.”
So with the cameras rolling, their wives and offspring looking on, and their cowboy boots peeking out from under dark suits, the history-making Hispanic-American duo stood in front of their granite-clad kitchen fielding questions in English, and sometimes in Spanish, about Social Security reform, judicial appointments, and, of course, potentially annoying sleeping habits.
“We worked so hard when we were kids that we didn’t have any time to listen to each other snore,” said John, a potato-seed farmer and ex-state legislator, referring to their childhood growing up on a ranch in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
“There used to be five of us children sometimes sleeping in the same bed,” he added. “Now at least he’s got his own room, and I’ve got my own room.”
Indeed, as Ken Salazar later told Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) as they rode the Capitol subway to their swearing-in ceremony, not only were the brothers close in age — Ken is a year and a half younger than John — but they also shared similar farm assignments growing up, namely herding cattle and bucking bales together, he said.
For roughly $2,300 per month, the pair rented the two-bedroom, two bath, loft-style apartment after a search by John and his wife Mary Lou.
But despite the sleek look — the apartment has painted concrete floors and a balcony — the brothers don’t expect to be doing much cooking or entertaining.
Most nights they will dine on takeout, except “when the girls” — their wives — “are here,” John said. Still, he dutifully put in a plug for the culinary skills of his little brother, who in addition to serving as state attorney general also owned a Dairy Queen. “Ken is a great cook,” he said. “He knows how to make good hamburgers.”
A quick glance through the fridge reinforced the bachelor pad image, however, revealing little more than Coke, orange juice, bread, milk, eggs, and, of course, leftover pizza.
“Would you like a piece of cold pizza?” John jokingly asked one nearby scribe, before adding, as an extra incentive perhaps, that it was pepperoni and sausage.
Nearby sat two matching, brand-new Saint Joseph Edition Bibles purchased yesterday at Catholic University’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“We picked up the Bibles so we could do the swearing-in,” said Ken Salazar’s wife, Hope, noting that their Bibles had been left behind. “They’ve got big print so I can read it.”
Setting up the new domicile, which John and Ken moved into during the past week, was not without its kinks, Hope confided.
“What we fell in love with online is not what they sent us,” she laughed, referring to the rented, earth-toned sofa and loveseat. “We’re going to send it back, but we needed to have some furniture when we were here.”