Too often we know our elected officials too little. We asked a few winners from the recent election to share a little about themselves by answering some questions -- ones they normally wouldn't have been asked in a debate. Here's how they responded.
U.S. House of Representatives, District 23 Winner
What's on your playlist? I have a little bit of everything from Adele to Johnny Cash to Mercy Me, everything in the 1980s, to Train and definitely U2.
What's the first thing you do in the morning? Judy and I take our dog Mac out for a run.
I 'm great at: Being optimistic.
I'm lousy at: Sticking to my diet.
What's your current state of mind? Despite our nation's economic challenges, I remain optimistic on our nation's future. We have to get back and reapply the principles that make our country exceptional -- freedom, opportunity and free enterprise.
What's your most treasured possession? Our kitchen table. Some of the most meaningful conversations have taken place there. Our kids grew up around that table.
What is your greatest fear? That my children will not have the same opportunities that past generations have had.
When and where were you happiest? When Judy said "I do" and when Connor and Meghan were born.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would like to have a better singing voice.
Bakersfield City Council, Ward 4 Winner
I'm great at: Seeing the big picture. As a civil engineer I'm forced to work out all of the small details, but my natural inclination is to focus on the big picture. It seems to work out well as most problems you need to understand the big picture and then break it down into manageable parts.
I'm lousy at: Keeping my desk cleaned off. I like to have everything at my fingertips.
What has been your favorite journey? My life with Pammy, my lovely bride. She was my high school sweetheart and we have now been married for 38 years. We have grown up together and discovered all the joys and challenges of life together.
What's your current state of mind? An overwhelming sense of gratitude for every day, and the adventure that it brings. I am thankful for the life that I have been given and try to give joy to others as I have been given joy.
What's your most treasured possession? My health. I understand that it is a gift and I work hard at doing my part to keep it. I work exercise into the flow of everyday by bicycling for almost all trips in town. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I'm kind of boring that way (I also like dessert).
Great life accomplishment? Maintaining a passionate marriage and raising four wonderful children. I realize that even when you do everything "right," things can go wrong. But I have worked hard and stayed focused and it has worked well for me.
On what occasion do you lie? I used to tell big lies during Christmas season about how the presents got under the tree. Not so much anymore.
When and where were you happiest? Here and now. Life has different seasons and I try to enjoy every moment of every one.
Which living person do you most admire? I most admire my wife Pamela Gaylene Smith. She is truly a remarkable person. She is a loving wife and a wonderful, intentional mother. As life brings us different seasons she joyfully (with some anxiety) dives into our new challenges and opportunities. The most recent: running for City Council.
34th Assembly District Winner
Fictional hero: Tonto from The Lone Ranger
What are your talents? Not sure it's a talent, but I love helping people -- whether it's finding a job or some personal need they have. It probably makes me happier than the person I'm helping.
What's on your playlist? Jeremy Camp, David Crowder, Third Day, Passion Worship Band
What's your weakness? My granddaughter Presley. And my dog Lilly.
What's the first thing you do in the morning? Kiss my husband and read my Bible.
What do you most value in a friend? Trust and loyalty.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Taller and a better listener.
What is your motto? Do it today, do it now. Delay only means you're behind.
What is your greatest fear? Our children and grandchildren's future. Will they be safe and secure and able to provide for their families in the next 20, 40 years?
What has been your favorite journey? Life.
32nd Assembly District Winner
Fictional hero: Clark Kent, Superman
What are you reading? "Reinventing Government" by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler.
What's on your playlist? The Beatles, Ramon Ayala, Blink 182, Johnny Cash, Fito Olivares and Rihanna.
What's the first thing you do in the morning? I brush my teeth, check email and read the news.
What do you most value in a friend? Loyalty and a great sense of humor.
I'm great at: Listening and helping solve problems.
I'm lousy at: Picking a winning fantasy football team.
What's your current state of mind? Focused on helping improve the lives of those in our community.
What's your most treasured possession? A gold cross pendent that was a gift from my grandparents.
What is your greatest fear? Not having the impact I know can have by bringing people together.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would not give in to my sweet tooth so often and order more healthy salads.