Utah Sen. Jake Garn confirmed Wednesday what political observers have suspected for months:
Life in the Senate has been pretty boring since Garn returned from his space shuttle flight 21/2 years ago.Garn would love to get back into space, and said he pay $10 million - even $100 million if he had it - for another shot a space travel.
"I'd sell the car and the house, and Kathleen and I would start over if it took that," Garn said.
Nearly as satisfying as his space adventures is the aftermath of his September 1986 kidney donation to his daughter, Susan Garn Horne.
In fact, Utah's senior senator said, answering calls and letters from other potential kidney donors has been "very satisfying, compared to life in the Senate."
But just because Garn finds his Senate job somewhat boring, doesn't mean he won't seek re-election in 1992. He recalled the fate of a Michigan congressman who announced too early his retirement, changed his mind, ran for re-election and lost.
"I'm not going to make that mistake."
A Cabinet position - but only Secretary of Defense - in a Bush administration would be very tempting, Garn conceded.
Stressing that his answer was strictly hypothetical, Garn said he would be interested in
eading the Pentagon because of his lifelong interest in defense.
When asked about his interest in the Secretary of the Interior post, Garn said he thought he could do more for Utah in the Senate.
"I've had lots of other very lucrative offers," Garn said.
Although Senate life has been rather boring, Garn has found some excitement in a few earthly endeavors.
But the Colossus at Lagoon in Farmington isn't one of them.
"It only pulls four G's on the turns," Garn scoffed.
He said he has tried many similar rides around the country, and none hold a candle to jet skiing, a sport he tried last summer on Lake Powell.
"I only fell of twice - when I tried a 360," Garn said. "I loved jumping over boat wakes. But the things cost $4,000. I'd like to afford one."
But nothing, he said, equals space travel, and the technological challenges space offers. Garn is trying to organize a group, with a budget of about $200,000 for three years, that will generate public excitement and persuade Congress to fund a space station. Getting that funding, Garn admits, will be difficult because so many congressmen seem to fund only those things that have immediate political payoffs.
To abandon the space station would be "a mistake of tragic proportions," Garn said.