Editor’s note: Viewing a Facebook page, eagle-eyed Chronicle News Editor Gordon Woodworth spotted what looked like a diamond ring on a finger of Rep. Elise Stefanik’s left hand. It prompted him to ask if indeed she’s newly engaged to be married. The answer was yes, leading to the following exclusive story./
By Gordon Woodworth, Chronicle News Editor
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, is engaged to be married.
Ms. Stefanik, now 32, is currently running for her second term representing the 21st Congressional District. Mike Derrick is the Democratic nominee. Matt Funiciello is the Green Party candidate. Election Day is Nov. 8.
Via email, we asked Rep. Stefanik if she is engaged to wed after seeing photos on Facebook that showed her wearing an apparent diamond ring on her left hand.
Usually very private about her personal life — when asked by reporters in the past, she would only say she had a “serious boyfriend” — Rep. Stefanik told The Chronicle about her now fiancé Matt Manda, how he popped the question and when and where they plan to get married.
“Matt is 33 and is from Lawrence, Kansas, just west of Kansas City,” she said via e-mail relayed through her campaign spokesman Manny Alcivar.
‘We met through mutual friends when he moved to Washington, D.C. in January 2012 to work on the Hill, and started dating after we met.
“He is currently the marketing and communications director at a digital media company. Matt is the kindest person I know, he has a great sense of humor, and is always up for an adventure. He’s also a great travel partner. He is incredibly supportive and genuine.”
Rep Stefanik added: “Fun facts about Matt: he loves BBQ, music, KU basketball, the Adirondacks, and craft beer.”
She said he proposed in late August.
“We had a couple days of personal time, and he suggested we take a fun day trip to Lake Placid,” she wrote. “It turns out he had made dinner reservations and we were going to stay overnight at the Mirror Lake Inn.
“Before heading to dinner that evening, we grabbed a drink at the Mirror Lake Inn upstairs lounge. We were sitting outside, just the two of us, on this small porch overlooking the lake. Then when we were getting ready to finish up and head to dinner, and he got down on his knee and asked — and I said yes, of course!
“It was beautiful outside and was perfect. He reminded me Lake Placid was the very first place I took him when he visited upstate the first time when we first started dating. We had a great dinner and fun time celebrating and calling family and friends.
“One funny story about the engagement is that in addition to the box holding the ring, he had the ring tied in dental floss. Matt’s dad is a dentist, and he didn’t want the ring to slip and drop it and lose it!”
She said he purchased the ring “from his family hometown jeweler, Kizer Cummings Jewelers, in Lawrence, Kansas.”
So when is the wedding?
“We haven’t finalized all the planning yet, we’re thinking of late next summer. We’re going to do it up here in New York but haven’t decided exact location — there are so many beautiful spots to consider.”
Was she surprised?
“Matt and I have dated for almost five years, and we had talked about the future, but the exact timing? No, I didn’t know. It was a great surprise! And when he told me why Lake Placid and how he decided on everything — he had done his homework!”
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