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Unspun -- Kumar P. Barve

"I like trying to fix stuff"
An offbeat interview with a Maryland politician
Interview by John Wagner

Thumbnail image for Barve at mike.jpgName Kumar P. Barve
Party Democrat
Age 51
Home Gaithersburg
Position Maryland House Majority Leader

Was there a television show you never missed as a kid?
"Star Trek." ... I love science fiction. ... You know, it was diverse before diverse was cool. I think it was the first show that actually had a black guy as a judge in a trial. I also liked the idea of using logic to solve problems.

BlackBerry or iphone?
I have an HTC Hero, which is an Android phone. ... I'm a Google guy, and Android phones are designed by Google, and I really like everything abut Gmail and Google calendar and Google.

What do you do to relax?
I like to watch movies. And this may not sound relaxing, but I love to plan our next vacation. I love to take vacations, too.

What's atop your reading pile?
"I Am the New Black" by Tracy Morgan. I heard his interview on "Fresh Air" on NPR ... and he's just one of the most raw and emotional and in-your-face guys. It was just an incredible interview.

What's your biggest goof?
I should have gotten better grades in college and gotten a better job with a Big 8 accounting firm. But if had done that, I'd have a much more dull life than I have now. My mother calls these things "blessings in disguise." I prefer the term "dumb luck."

What's your favorite possession?
One that I like ... is a Rado watch that has a ceramic bracelet. It's very sleek. I've had it for over 15 years and it generally draws more compliments than more expensive watches that other people are wearing. ... It's just kind of sleek and neat-looking.

What do your colleagues say about you behind your back?
I don't think they say anything negative about me. I don't know. I really don't know. ... I have no idea. You should ask a few of them. I think people regard me as being a good guy and relatively smart and relatively funny, and you know, quirky. I think I have a reputation for being quirkier than most elected officeholders.

What are you most passionate about as a legislator?
I like trying to fix stuff. ... My father was convinced I was going to be an engineer because I liked dismantling my toys and reassembling them. ... Another thing I really like about my job, and I think I'm good at it, is explaining complicated things so people can understand them. That is one of the hardest things under the sun. Except for the horrible salaries, I probably would have been a good teacher.

By John Wagner  |  January 21, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
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How come you didn't ask him about his drunk driving conviction?

I find it appalling, both that Maryland's House of Delegates has a convicted criminal in a leadership position, and that our political and media elites are comfortable with allowing him to retain that position without criticism for serious reporting.

It is hard to believe press reports that members of the General Assembly are concerned about drunk driving when they are so tolerants of the drunk drivers in their midst.

Posted by: dcrussell | January 21, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Dick Cheney had 2 DUI convictions, and he was VP.

Posted by: unrest | January 25, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh great, we have "dick cheney" leadership in Annapolis. Nothing like more tyranny and disregard for the rule of law.

Posted by: rodrigossimmons | January 27, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

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