It’s still dark in Washington, D.C., when Representative Jason Crow gets up, pulls on his sneakers, and slips out the front door of the apartment he shares with Congressman Joe Neguse. Crow is used to getting up at dawn. As a kid, he woke early to stalk deer in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. In the Army, he didn’t have a choice. Now, as a freshman congressman, he gets up every morning by 6 a.m. of his own accord.

Staying fit is ingrained in the 40-year-old former Army Ranger; he’s been running since before he became a paratrooper nearly 20 years ago. He ran up hills and through longleaf pines with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He ran from door to door, clearing houses in Samawah during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and he ran through eastern Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain on two subsequent deployments. On this morning he runs from his apartment to the foot of the Lincoln Memorial and back—a precise five miles. Crow knows this route well. Despite the frenetic pace of his inaugural year in office, he still makes time to run it a couple of days a week.

The first half-mile meanders past the iconic silhouette of the Capitol building to a bronze tribute to Ulysses S. Grant astride his war horse Cincinnati. From here, the route provides glimpses of at least half a dozen treasured cultural institutions before winding around the Washington Monument. It’s less than a mile from the 555-foot-tall obelisk to the Lincoln Memorial’s steps, but it’s a sobering path through sculpted testaments to America’s violent, complicated past. The fountains and granite pillars of the World War II Memorial preside over the reflecting pool’s eastern edge, while the Vietnam and Korean War memorials flank the western end, one commemorating those lost in a war we never won and the other remembering a war that technically never was.

Crow could opt for a less crowded and, arguably, prettier run—perhaps along the Potomac or Anacostia rivers—but he always chooses this same solemn five-miler. “It’s a reminder of the responsibility and the people who walked this path before me,” Crow says. “It’s a reminder of what I’m doing here.”

Crow doing aerial reconnaissance in Iraq in 2003. Photo courtesy of Jason Crow.

Day Zero

Conventional election night wisdom holds that candidates should surrender their cell phones to campaign staff once polls have closed and results start rolling in, so staff can take calls if the candidate is busy and to avoid potential emotional roller coasters from unofficial results. In Colorado, that’s typically around 7 p.m. But when you’re in one of the country’s top congressional races, a hotly contested seat that might hinge on a few thousand votes, the timeline is a bit more malleable.

In 2018, Colorado’s 6th Congressional District race was anticipated to be a later call. Incumbent Republican Mike Coffman had held the seat for a decade, but Crow was polling well. Although he wasn’t quite the political novice some folks had painted him (he’d served on boards and commissions for former Governor John Hickenlooper and Representative Ed Perlmutter and had volunteered on state Legislature campaigns), he also wasn’t as well known as the two Democrats who had failed before him. Both Morgan Carroll and Andrew Romanoff had lost by nearly 10-point margins, and those elections hadn’t been decided until around 9 p.m. Crow’s campaign staff estimated 2018 would be much the same. Which is how it happened that night on November 6, 2018, Crow and his wife, Deserai, who played an active role in his campaign, still had their phones at about 7:20 as they took a moment in their DTC hotel room. “My phone starts blowing up with news alerts and the Twitter,” Crow says (yes, it’s “the” Twitter in Crow-speak). “And I can hear Des’ phone blowing up. She’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ And I looked at the phone and said, ‘I think we just won.’”

If Crow sounded surprised, it’s because he was. He had spent the campaign fixated on the tasks at hand. The next event. The next debate. The same ability to stay focused that got Crow through studying for the LSAT in an Afghanistan bunker while mortars fell outside left him, in this case, unprepared for actually succeeding. “I never really allowed myself to come to grips with the reality of winning,” he says.

Barely two years earlier, Crow, who’d just made partner at Holland & Hart, and Deserai, an associate professor of environmental policy at the University of Colorado Denver, had been commiserating about President Donald Trump’s election. They were especially concerned about what the future looked like for vulnerable populations and the environment—and what it meant for their two children, Anderson and Josephine. They talked about how to become more involved. On the night of Trump’s inauguration, the Crows were in Keystone for a family ski weekend. After the kids were asleep, their conversation shifted to the next day’s Women’s March in Denver. Maybe they should be there? The pair batted around the logistics of getting up early and decided to do it. They arrived at the rally still in their ski clothes; Crow hoisted Josephine onto his shoulders, and he and Deserai took Anderson’s hands and began marching with the crowd of more than 100,000. “It was that moment of solidarity and feeling inspired by the community coming together that changed the nature of the conversation,” Crow says. “We figured we had to do something more than we thought.”

This “we” is another Crow-ism. We decided to run. We won. We introduced legislation. He doesn’t like to say “I,” because in his mind, it’s not about him. That was certainly never truer than with his decision to run for Congress. Doing so would require Crow to eventually give up his job with Holland & Hart and for Deserai to take on more domestic responsibilities—while still balancing her career. They asked for advice from friends and mentors like Perlmutter, with whom Crow had worked on veterans issues. (Perlmutter jokes that he told Crow to take two aspirin and call him when the fever passed.) They assessed the financial impact, the lack of privacy, and what it might mean for the kids. “We probably spent several weeks talking about it,” Deserai says. “We’d have a glass of wine—eventually it became whiskey—and talk about, What does this look like?”

They found out starting on April 11, 2017, when Crow announced his candidacy via an interview with the Denver Post. It looks like 19 months of knocking on doors and going to campaign events and house parties. It looks like interviewing staff while your house is still dressed in Finding Dory birthday party decorations. It looks like campaign ads calling out your legal defense of white collar criminals and missed Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs meetings. And on Election Day, it looks like two people in a DTC hotel room, staring at messages from the Twitter, elated and astonished all at the same time. When the final votes were counted, Crow captured 54.1 percent of the vote, while Coffman earned 42.9. It was the largest margin of victory in the district since 2010.

Day One

In addition to establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, and securing the blessings of liberty, the Constitution also sets the date for the convening of new Congresses: January 3, at noon. Like many representatives, Crow wasn’t alone as he stood to be sworn in. He’d taken then eight-year-old Anderson and five-year-old Josephine onto the floor with him. When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the delegation to rise, Josephine instinctively stood up next to her dad and recited the oath, too. After they finished, Josephine turned and asked, “Daddy, now that we’re members of Congress, when do we start voting?”

Crow laughs when he tells this story, but his brief congressional career has been very much a family affair. Deserai joined Crow during his weekslong orientation in the capital and is still involved in everything from policy conversations to staff hirings. Anderson helped his dad vote against Trump’s emergency spending bill in February because, as the now nine-year-old likes to tell his classmates, “it’s not a real emergency.”

These connections are important because they help make up for the everyday ones Crow misses during the weeks he’s in Washington. While Crow’s scheduler ensures “FaceTime Kids” is a standing nightly agenda item, he’s not always there to read to them before bed. He doesn’t get to take them to music lessons and gymnastics as he did before. “When the kids miss him, we say, ‘Our whole family is in public service,’” Deserai says. “It’s cheesy, but true. We’re living in this moment in history that people will talk about in the future. They’re giving up time with their dad for that.”

They are also not alone in dealing with those challenges. Many of the 101 new representatives and 10 new senators elected in 2018 have young families; in fact, nearly 20 percent of them qualify as millennials. Beyond being younger, the 116th Congress is more diverse than ever before. Thirty-eight percent of the new legislators are women. Twenty-two percent are people of color. A fifth of the freshman lawmakers have military or defense backgrounds, and nine of them—including Crow—have become part of what’s known as the Gang of Nine, a consortium of moderate freshman Democrats elected in swing districts. “The work we do here is really intense, and there are issues that we all really care about so deeply,” says Representative Mikie Sherrill, a Gang of Nine member from New Jersey who served as a Navy helicopter pilot. “So it’s great to be able to kick back with people you trust and shoot the bull—you’ve probably noticed Jason has a dry sense of humor.”

Crow’s staff is eye-rollingly familiar with his references to Office Space, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Hill Street Blues and his deadpan delivery. But the levity is necessary in an environment as unpredictable and, sometimes, acrimonious as that in which the 116th Congress functions. Before the end of its first year, this Congress will have witnessed the longest shutdown in U.S. history, a handful of walkouts at the White House, and one controversial walk-in (when Republican representatives stormed into a secured room before a private October deposition in the impeachment inquiry). While he isn’t always the first lawmaker quoted—or even mentioned at all—in stories related to these events, Crow’s got an uncanny knack for being near the action. When Trump announced his intention to divert military funds to build a border wall in September, Crow spoke out against it—from the border. Later that month, he co-authored the op-ed that tipped the scales toward the House inquiry that resulted in articles of impeachment. Days after Crow visited Turkey, Afghanistan, and the Syria-Jordan border, Trump announced plans to withdraw from northern Syria, a move Crow criticized.

Amid the tumult, Crow has sponsored 10 bills (as of press time). Three address improvements for small businesses, two deal with immigration, and the rest run the gamut from gun violence prevention—a signature element of his campaign—to military preparedness and campaign finance reform. Although half of his legislative efforts have been co-sponsored by Republicans, Crow’s critics back home aren’t impressed. Colorado Republican Party vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown warns that Crow has picked the wrong issues to work on in his first year. “He’s not taking care of basic issues that people care about,” she says, citing health care and education as major concerns. “I think he’s put himself in a dangerous position electorally.” She and other right-leaning politicos also note that Crow’s actions might rub voters in what they describe as a moderate and fiscally conservative district the wrong way.

Crow has had better success building bipartisan relationships with his D.C. peers: When he’s not running in the mornings, he joins bipartisan Crossfit-esque workout sessions led by Representative Markwayne Mullin (an Oklahoma Republican). Crow also joined the Civility & Respect Caucus with Ohio Republican Troy Balderson and became a member of the bipartisan For Country Caucus. “The era of the Donald Trump presidency will end at some point, and this country’s going to have to move on,” Crow says. “We’re going to have to repair our divisions. We’re going to have to come together. And I’m looking at that long game.”

Day 49

Temperatures had barely crept above freezing when Crow, wearing his trademark blue North Face puffy jacket, joined Aurora City Councilwoman Allison Hiltz outside the Aurora ICE facility on February 20, 2019. The pair was concerned about conditions inside the privately run detention center, which had recently opened 432 additional beds. Immigration topics are front of mind for Crow, who represents a diverse district where more than 10 percent of residents are naturalized citizens or aren’t yet citizens at all. Earlier that morning, Crow had penned a letter to then Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen noting concerns about the expansion and lack of coordination with local agencies. Now, he and Hiltz wanted a tour, but they were turned away by staff, who cited procedural reasons (such visits must be scheduled in advance). Crow was eventually granted access on March 15.

The experience led Crow to introduce the Public Oversight of Detention Centers Act, which would require that members of Congress be granted access to such facilities within 48 hours of a request, and an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting the Department of Defense from supporting Homeland Security efforts to forcibly separate children from their parents at detention facilities. His staff also began conducting oversight visits to the Aurora detention center every Monday, and their reports are available on Crow’s website. These actions are as personal as they are political. “I know what it feels like to need help. To be in a vulnerable position and to need the help of my community and my country and my family to help me through a difficult time,” Crow says. “Having been in those positions before certainly makes me appreciate the value of community and the role of government in making sure no one falls through the cracks.”

The Crows at Stanley Marketplace, near their home. Photo by Matt Nager.

In conversation, Crow regularly alludes to his working-class background, but he’s circumspect with the details. He’s happy to share stories about hunting and collecting frogs and snakes with his older brother or competing on his middle school’s Science Olympiad team. The memories are less free-flowing, though, when it comes to the more personal components of his childhood. Crow acknowledges that his family was very poor and that he initially joined the National Guard because doing so would help pay for tuition at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He’s also quick to supply humorous anecdotes about the odd jobs he took to support himself: construction worker, Arby’s server, party set builder, blackjack dealer, and endangered rattlesnake and turtle hunter (Crow captured the reptiles as part of a federal Department of Natural Resources study). But it is apparent that Crow is acquainted with the sting of being an outsider.

Now, as a political insider, Crow dedicates a lot of resources to ensuring others aren’t locked out of the services they need. Through casework, his staff has helped veterans untangle the VA system and seniors navigate Social Security and Medicaid. They’ve made calls to erase $30,000 in student loans that shouldn’t have been assessed, and they’ve worked with volunteers and immigration advocates to see a deportation case overturned.

Among these local successes, there have been stumbles, too. Following the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in May, students walked out of a vigil where Crow and Senator Michael Bennet had been invited to speak. Many community members and students expressed frustration that the students hadn’t been given mic time. Some viewed the delegates’ speeches—Crow acknowledged the community’s pain and also alluded to Washington needing to do more—as politicizing the tragedy. Crow has stood by his remarks while sharing the sentiment that the students’ voices should have been the focus. “The kids should have been front and center,” he says. “They weren’t given prominent opportunity to speak, and certainly it’s a lesson learned for everybody.” When the students left the auditorium, Crow joined them in the hall to listen. He stayed there for more than an hour, until he had to catch a flight to D.C., where the very next day he was scheduled to introduce his first piece of gun violence prevention legislation, H.R. 2634—a billed designed to prevent the transfer of long guns to out-of-state residents. It’s currently been referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Meanwhile, House Resolution 8, the universal background check bill Crow was an early co-sponsor of, passed the House on February 27 and has been sitting in the Senate ever since.

Day 158

On June 9, 2019, roughly 75 years after U.S. Army paratroopers deployed behind enemy lines in Normandy, two members of the 116th Congress hitched rides aboard vintage planes to jump in commemoration of the historic event: Florida Republican Michael Waltz, a former Green Beret, and Jason Crow. It’s not entirely surprising that Crow—whose division, the 82nd Airborne, suffered heavy losses in the first 24 hours of fighting in Normandy—would take part in such a re-creation. But what is eyebrow-raising is the fact that Crow asked to do it.

The move illustrates the kind of quiet swagger with which Crow carries himself. He’s not a flashy politician, but it takes a fair amount of confidence—some might say ego—to make the request. Just as it does, say, to make a congressional seat your very first political bid. It’s a sureness borne, in part, by Crow’s military experience, according to those close to him. Crow became an Army Ranger not long after 9/11. He’d started college in the Army National Guard and switched to ROTC after his sophomore year. Crow was still in school when the World Trade Center towers came down, but he got approval to go to active duty his senior year. He chose infantry—Airborne School, then Ranger School. “We were at war,” he says. “And I don’t like the idea of other people doing my fighting for me.”

A few months later, the lieutenant was leading paratroopers in the invasion of Iraq. The battle of Samawah would last six days, and Crow earned a Bronze Star for his combat actions there. Justin DeVantier, a former airborne officer who trained with Crow and who was in charge of a heavy weapons unit in Crow’s battalion, remembers watching Crow and his soldiers clear houses. “With all that chaos, you look for a cool head,” DeVantier says. “The soldiers want someone who is solid, thoughtful, clear, and concise and can execute what they need to do. That’s how you build trust. That’s Jason.”

Crow still has a souvenir from the invasion of Iraq—part of an American mortar tail fin shot ahead of his advancing platoon. He keeps it on a shelf in his D.C. office, near his dog tags and a piece of shrapnel from a tank his Army Ranger unit blew up in Afghanistan. “It lodged in the center of my body armor,” he says. “Turns out that stuff works.” Crow might joke about these mementos, but his appreciation for physical reminders of service and sacrifice is sincere. It’s why he took a solo tour of Civil War battle sites his senior year of college while his classmates were cavorting in Cabo; he read Michael Shaara’s Killer Angels while sitting on Little Round Top at Gettysburg. It’s why he prefers the post-war bust of a haggard-looking Lincoln inside the Capitol to the polished pre-war version a few hallways away. It’s why he’s drawn to the plaque commemorating United Airlines Flight 93, the one headed for D.C. that passengers took down, sacrificing themselves. And it’s part of what motivated his ninth piece of legislation: a bipartisan bill to set aside land for a War on Terror memorial on the National Mall.

These physical reminders offer more than nostalgia, though. They provide a much-needed source for common ground. They are meeting places where shared experiences and identities transcend politics, and in the fracturing American political landscape, Crow recognizes the need for any opportunity to connect.

Day 264

At about 9 p.m. EST on Monday, September 23, the Washington Post published a story that might well come to be known as the op-ed read round the (political) world. Penned by seven freshman representatives, including Crow—all Democrats with military or defense backgrounds—the opinion piece cited allegations of Trump leveraging taxpayer dollars to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent as a reason to move forward with an impeachment inquiry. “These new allegations,” the septet wrote, “are a threat to all we have sworn to protect.”

The piece appeared to spur the Democratic leadership to action: At 5 p.m. the next day, Pelosi announced the House would proceed with a formal impeachment inquiry. But the op-ed was a political risk for its authors. Each of the signees hailed from a swing district they’d only recently won, and until that point, they had almost all withheld their support for an impeachment inquiry. (Crow, frustrated with White House foot-dragging related to the Mueller investigation, had announced his support at the end of July.) But, Crow says, as each September day revealed more allegations, members of the Gang of Nine grew increasingly disturbed.

“One of the bigger dangers I feel like we face right now is that this pretty egregious abuse of power and disregard for democratic norms and abuse of our institutions becomes normalized,” Crow says. “I feel like my role is to make sure we’re pushing back appropriately. At the same time, while we’re doing that, we also have to make sure that we’re trying to unify the country and the community as much as we can.” It’s a message the congressman repeats at his October “Crow On Your Corner” event, a monthly roundtable where constituents can ask questions of their delegate. Despite sloppy roads from the season’s first snow, about 30 people turn up at Highland Ranch’s Enchanted Grounds coffeeshop. It’s the first opportunity they’ve had to meet with their representative since the Post story came out, and the mood is mixed. Some wear T-shirts reading “Impeach the MF.” Others question why Crow is spending time on impeachment when there are other important things—reducing health care costs, for example—to worry about.

Crow’s dog tags and the religious medals his family gave him. Photo by Matt Nager.

Crow welcomes the inquiries. I think it’s important people are asking the hard questions of our leaders, he’d told Deserai the first night he met her in a Chapel Hill bar. She was a Duke University doctoral student trying to get a rise out of the paratrooper by needling him about people protesting the war. Instead, Crow got her phone number. “Look, the promise is not that we’re going to agree all the time,” Crow says. “But everyone deserves my respect.”

Crow often returns to this theme in conversations and in speeches. When the questions become animated, he doesn’t get defensive because, as he says, he doesn’t know what the other person is dealing with. They might have just lost a family member or a job or could be feeling marginalized. What he does know is that their feelings are real. “There is something behind that emotion that’s authentic,” he says. “I just try to understand that they’re struggling with something, too.”

Day 287

The desk in Crow’s D.C. office sits beneath a window facing west, toward the Washington Monument and home. It’s a stately looking bit of furniture, but the congressman doesn’t appear to use it all that much; when he needs a pen, he can’t find one in any of its drawers. Instead, Crow engages with visitors around the same coffee table where he takes calls from the media and writes public remarks. It’s here, on the morning of October 16, that Crow hunches over while making notes for his upcoming press conference about the Syria situation.

Nine days earlier, Trump had announced plans to withdraw U.S. troops from the Syrian-Turkish border, essentially giving Turkish forces a clear path to the United States’ Kurdish allies. In response, Crow, who worked with local forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote a letter signed by more than 50 Democrats criticizing the president’s decision. The letter went unanswered, and the Democratic leadership plans to include the topic in a press conference later this morning. Crow, recently returned from a congressional delegation visit to the region, has been tapped to speak at 10:15 a.m. It’s currently 9:58.

Three and a half minutes later, Crow taps his notes on the table. “OK,” he says. “Good to go.” He hustles out of his office in the Longworth Building, into the drizzle, across the street, and into the bowels of the Capitol, where Crow stares out into a room full of reporters and C-SPAN cameras. “As an Army Ranger, when I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, we frequently worked with local forces, not just because it was important, but because it was essential,” he says. “But the bottom line is the reckless decision of this president sends a very clear message to those friends and to those partners. And that is, the American handshake doesn’t matter.” The words come easily to Crow. It’s not the last time he’ll make a similar speech today. Before he gets back to his office, there’ll be a request for him to speak on the House floor in support of a bipartisan resolution condemning the withdrawal from northern Syria. That afternoon, it will pass by a vote of 354 to 60.

Crow’s concern for the situation in Syria isn’t manufactured for political purposes. Representative Mikie Sherrill recounts their first day of orientation to the House Armed Services Committee. When Chairman Adam Smith (Washington) was finished speaking, he asked the freshmen if they had any questions. Crow’s hand went up. How are we going to support the Kurds? Crow asked. I’m personally invested in making sure that we take care of them. “I think even Chairman Smith took a beat,” Sherrill says. “It just spoke so loudly about how this [class] was going to be a little bit different.”

While Crow is measured about most things—you’ll rarely see him get agitated or emotional—the situation with the Kurds is different. “I’m very mad about that,” he says. “These are people who have sacrificed their lives to support us, and we’re turning our backs on them. But there is a difference between getting mad and having it motivate you and being visible about it.” The revelation speaks to Crow’s leadership style. He’s rarely the loudest voice in the room, but he is often taking action in the wings. The approach is one he learned as a young officer in combat—where respect is earned by demonstrating that you can work with people, that you will sacrifice with them, not by yelling at them, he says.

This military background imbues the congressman with a certain kind of credibility as a messenger. Crow hasn’t been a stranger to speaking on a national stage, but recent national security concerns have elevated his profile. He regularly appears on cable news networks, and his daily meeting agenda, posted on his website for transparency, is littered with high-profile media like the New Yorker, the Associated Press, and Rolling Stone.

After his Syria speech, it’s off to a Small Business Committee hearing. He steps out for a few minutes to meet with Colorado members of Mi Familia Vota. In the afternoon, as vice-chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, he helps lead a roundtable discussion. It’s an issue Crow cares deeply about: Introducing H.R. 2634 to close a loophole on out-of-state guns sales was one of his earliest congressional acts. Soon he’ll be whisked down Longworth’s marble stairs for speaker pro tempore tutoring. (He’s subbing in for Pelosi­­­—a fairly common practice for members of the majority party—while she’s off witnessing a “meltdown” at the White House.) How long did it take you to get used to this pace? Crow laughs. “I’ll let you know.”

Crow’s staff watches as he ends October 16 as speaker pro tempore. Photo courtesy of Kasey Cordell.

Day 302

On October 31, 2019, while Coloradans were shoveling sidewalks for the costumed masses, the country’s trick-or-treater in chief was contending with scarier issues. That morning, the House of Representatives voted 232 to 196 to set out rules for an impeachment inquiry. “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!” Trump tweeted. What got lost in the subsequent Twitter-baiting, though, was the passage of a signature piece of Colorado legislation. Less than an hour after the impeachment vote, the House passed the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. Introduced by Joe Neguse, the freshman Democrat from Boulder County, and championed by Senator Michael Bennet, the CORE Act would protect about 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, creating new wilderness, conservation, and recreation areas. Of the 226 representatives who voted for it, only five were Republican.

As with most presidential election years, 2020 is unlikely to do much more in the way of building bipartisan connections. While the Republicans won’t choose Crow’s opponent until this summer, the GOP is already getting fired up. This fall, the National Republican Congressional Committee pointed out that Crow, who has sworn not to accept corporate political action committee (PAC) money and made campaign finance reform a major focus, had accepted $1,500 from Denver lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a corporate PAC. FEC records confirm this. Crow says the gift was a clerical error, and once it was discovered, the money was returned. When probed about how significant swearing off corporate PAC money really is, given that candidates still get funding from leadership PACs that accept contributions from some of those same corporations—including Pelosi’s PAC to the Future, which donates to his campaign—Crow notes that he’s still giving up hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Crow formed his own leadership PAC, Service First, in November.) At press time, more than 80 percent of his campaign funds had come from individual donors.

Crow’s also likely to draw criticism for his calls for a formal impeachment inquiry. Colorado Republican Party vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown has described his support of impeachment as extreme and points to his public opining as a distraction from the fact that he hasn’t introduced meaningful legislation. Crow doesn’t agree that legislation is the only way to help residents of his district. He cites the amount of time his staff spends on constituent services and things like oversight of the ICE facility. “There are a lot of aspects to this job, and I want to make sure I’m not just introducing a lot of bills to send a political message,” he says. “For me, it’s about what you actually accomplish and get done.”

As he responds to these criticisms, he sounds tired. Yesterday was a long day. After the impeachment vote and the passage of the CORE Act, Crow hurried to get home for Halloween. But his flight out of D.C. was delayed, so he didn’t make it back in time to take Anderson and Josephine trick-or-treating. It’s the first such Halloween tradition he’s missed. And for the briefest of moments, Crow isn’t the unflappable freshman from Colorado nor the stoic leader of soldiers in Samawah. He’s not the stern-looking security Democrat staring out into the cameras. He’s just a dad who’s sad to have missed a few special moments with his kids—a dad who, 31 months before, told his would-be campaign manager he was considering running because he couldn’t “sit back and tell my kids that I let someone do my fighting for me when my country needed me to serve.” Then there’s a knock at the door—a staffer signaling the end of one appointment and the beginning of the next—and the old Crow snaps back. He stands up and straightens his shirt. It’s only 2:45. There’s more work to do.