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Posts in "TakeFive"

November 4, 2013

Take Five: Rep. Steve Daines

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week, Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., discusses mountaintop experiences, doing business in China and just when exactly he plans to announce his bid for Senate.

Q. You have been married for 25 years to your wife, Cindy. Tell me about your wedding or how it all came to be.
A. Before we got married, I proposed to Cindy on top of a Montana mountain peak. We got engaged on Hyalite Peak, which is a 10,000-foot peak. It was a round-trip, 15-mile hike from the car and back. I surprised her with a diamond on the top.

Q. Tell me about your 13 years with Procter & Gamble before you ran for Congress.
A. I was hired right out of college when I went to work for P&G. We were asked one day if we would consider moving to China to launch a business; it was not to outsource in any way. It was to take an American company and market it to China. We went over there with two [kids] and we came back with two more.

Q. What’s the biggest surprise when you fly back to Montana?
A. It’s just the wide open space we have and the beauty of our state. There’s a certain culture we have in Montana, a can-do attitude and strong work ethic. It’s a state and a country that doesn’t want to be told what to do. It’s that free spirit that really separates the American West and runs through the veins of Montana.

Q. Some members live in boats, rent row houses on the Hill or live out of hotels. What’s your preference for your home away from home in D.C.?
A. I look at how I can maximize my productivity; being a fifth-generation Montanan, I’m not real patient with traffic. I’ve got a little one bedroom apartment that I walk to work from every day. I don’t have a car here. The days start early and finish late; it’s nothing very fancy. It kind of reminds me of going back to my college days. We’ve got a Costco blow-up mattress for when the kids come out to visit.

Q. What’s the big takeaway for you personally from the government shutdown and how did it affect your rumored Senate bid announcement that was supposed to take place in early October?
A. 
It was never the desire of anybody to see that [shutdown] happen. We kept our team focused on serving the people that we were elected to serve. We kept a skeleton crew going, working back in Montana to tell Montanans what’s going on. I have $1.1 million in cash on hand and we will announce it soon.

October 28, 2013

Take Five: Sen. Brian Schatz

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, discusses life on the islands, traveling between Hawaii and D.C., and his twin brother.

Q. What’s your favorite beach or getaway location that tourists don’t know about?

A. I’m not sure I want to tell you that. But actually, my favorite place is a body surfing spot in Honolulu called Point Panic. It also happens to be near the proposed Obama presidential center, so in the president’s post-presidential time, if he wants to jump in the water, he may.

Q: How do feel about the tourists there?

A. We’re big fans of tourism. We’ve set up a situation where it’s a symbiotic relationship. There are sometimes tension in the ocean, but for the most part everyone understands how to get along.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your work with nonprofit organizations before coming Congress.

A. I ran a social service agency on O’ahu, the main island, providing language translation, mental-health services and support for homeless and people who are having difficulty with housing. I did that for just over eight years and it helped to ground me.

Q. How do you manage having a life in both D.C. and Hawaii?

A. I drink an enormous amount of water and I try to follow one simple rule which is to never complain. … You gotta drink a lot of water when you’re on airplanes for [10 hours]. You get dehydrated very, very easily and so that’s the one piece of travel advice I was given and will give to everyone is, ‘Drink more water than you feel like drinking — before and after every plane ride.”

Q. Is there anything else that would be interesting to know about you?

A. You may not know that I have an identical twin brother who lives in Honolulu. … After I became lieutenant governor and then a U.S. senator, he has taken to shaving his head and growing out his goatee so he doesn’t have to spend all of his time saying, “I’m not Brian.”

September 30, 2013

Take Five: Rep. Janice Hahn

Take Five: Rep. Janice Hahn

Hahn hangs out with her grandchildren before the Congressional Women’s Softball Game in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week, Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., talks about her dad, the grandkids and her favorite D.C. eats.

Q. I read that your father [former LA County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn] was the only public official from the city to show up at the Los Angeles airport to welcome Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1962. What do you remember about that?

A. I was not with him, but I do remember when he came home that evening he talked about the time that he spent alone with Dr. King. My dad picked him up from the airport and drove him around Compton because he wanted Dr. King to see the African-American community in LA, and then he took him to this office and gave him a cup of coffee. When my dad came home that night, he spoke about Dr. King’s hope for America and what he hoped his children would be able to experience one day. When Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, my dad always thought he heard it first.

Q. You have five grandchildren. How often do you get to see them?
A. Well, two live in Bend, Ore., and three are in Colorado. I see them as much as I can. The three from Colorado were here when I was inaugurated, then they came again when I played in the Congressional Softball Game recently, saying, “Go Mimi!” My 7-year-old Brooklyn wanted to celebrate her birthday with cupcakes in the Rotunda of the Capitol.
Q. You raised three children as a single mother. What misconceptions do you believe the public has about single parents?
A. I think more and more people are single parents. I think there’s less misconception about it because it’s really kind of the new norm. Vice President Joe R. Biden Jr. was a single parent after the death of his wife. I know more and more single parents.
Q. You’ve been a congresswoman for two years now. How would you describe the city of Washington to someone who has never visited or lived here?

A. It’s on a swamp. [She laughs.] I tell everyone what a beautiful, historic, fascinating city this is. I am reminded of that every time I fly in from LA, when I catch my first glimpse of the Washington Monument or our nation’s Capitol. Every summer, when you see all the families who come here to tour this great city, the history really speaks for itself. I’m always inviting my friends from California to visit me. The weather is a little challenging, though.

Q. What’s your guilty pleasure eatery in D.C.?
A. Acqua al 2 at Eastern Market. It’s got wonderful Italian food and then across the street from that is a gelato place [Pitango]. Those are probably my two favorites.

September 23, 2013

Take Five: Howard Coble

Take Five: Howard Coble

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., talks about first jobs, post-Coast Guard life and the Grammys.

Q. You started out working in retail in Greensboro, N.C.?

A. I worked at Belk’s department store, mostly in men’s clothing. I started at probably 14 years old. My dad worked there for 42 years, mostly at the downtown store. It was kind of a non-negotiable. He said, “You will go to work.”

Q. Greensboro, N.C., is home to six colleges, so what caused you to attend Guilford College?

A. I transferred to Guilford from Appalachian State to be near home. I was thinking about studying for the ministry at the time, and I thought a liberal arts college would be a better fit for that.

Q. You spent more than two decades serving in the Coast Guard. How has it enabled you to better understand that niche within the military in the subcommittees you now serve on?

A. I enlisted 61 years ago on Sept. 16. I had a couple of friends that had enlisted earlier, and they’re the ones that talked me into joining the Coast Guard. It was a good learning experience that served me well, particularly on the Coast Guard Committee. I was the former chairman and I was the only member of the Coast Guard now serving in Congress.

Q. The Triad region of North Carolina is world-famous for its annual furniture market. Have you found any good furniture places in Washington?

A. I hadn’t really looked because I found all of mine back home. I bought a house up here, though. It’s located 10 blocks from Navy Yard.

Q. You attended the Grammys in 2008. What was your favorite or most memorable part of the show?

A. The late Earl Scruggs. He was confirmed with his Lifetime Achievement Award. They asked me to present him that award since Earl was from Cleveland County in North Carolina. I was very pleased and honored to do that.

September 16, 2013

Take Five: Rep. Brad Wenstrup

Take Five: Rep. Brad Wenstrup

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, talks medicine, food and high-school football.

Q. You practiced medicine for a number of years. What is the biggest difference between your time as a doctor and your time now as a representative?

A. When you’re a doctor, you see a patient and you’re presented with a problem and you make your diagnosis. Then you present the treatment plan and then you go through with the patient explaining how long it will take, what you have to do and you go and solve the problem. In D.C., I feel like I can make a diagnosis and even have a treatment plan, but I’ve got to convince 535 others that this is the way to go and so that makes it a little bit different. But it’s still problem-solving on either end; it’s addressing an issue and coming up with a solution for it as best you can.

Q. You also served in Iraq. What was the most meaningful experience you had during your time in the Army?

A. Well it was really the most violent time of the war and I tell people it was the worst thing I ever had to do, but at the same time the best thing that I ever got to do. By that I mean the people that you serve with, and you see how well people can come together for one cause, one common mission, and you’re all wearing the same clothes and it’s just amazing how politics is so far removed from really what you’re doing on your mission and that’s just an interesting dynamic. I’m certainly glad that I had the opportunity to experience that in my life.

Q. What is your favorite movie and why?

A. One of my favorite movies that I ever watched was “The Sting.” One, I always liked Paul Newman. I thought he was a class act and always carried himself well as a person, and you know as we saw later in his life, a philanthropist. It was a clever movie and it pulled me, and I think that’s why I liked it: Because I fell for it, I fell for the sting while I was watching the movie.

Q. You are also a Cincinnati native. How does the food in Washington stack up against The Queen City?

A. I think they both have a lot to be proud of — there are plenty of fine restaurants in D.C. and there are plenty in Cincinnati, and thank you for recognizing some of the culinary expertise Cincinnati has.

Q. Finally, as a St. Xavier High School graduate, which has become a football powerhouse recently and is in the top 25 again this year, do you have any predictions for the Bombers?

A. Well I went to the game last week and they beat a team from Indianapolis called Ben Davis, and Ben Davis is kind of like the Colerain of Indianapolis … Ben Davis had beaten Indy Cathedral the week before and St. X trounced them … so things are looking pretty good.

By JM Rieger Posted at 1:10 p.m.
DC, Reps, TakeFive

September 9, 2013

Take Five: Suzan DelBene

Take Five: Suzan DelBene

Suzan DelBene" src="http://hoh.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/delbene090913-445x296.jpg" width="445" height="296" /> (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work. This week, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., talks about her travels during recess, social media and the great outdoors.

Q. During recess you traveled with other members of Congress. Where did you go?

A. I went to Israel. [House Minority Whip Steny H.] Hoyer organized the trip and we went all over. It was an educational experience; we saw many different areas, from the southern part of the country and up north to the Lebanese border. We heard about the history of these places, which is important as we [head] back to Washington.

Q. What prompted you to want to be a member of Congress? You had several nice job titles before (Microsoft executive, Washington Department of Revenue director).

A. I had great opportunities despite financial struggles that my family went through growing up. I went to college with student loans and work study, and I believe that it’s important for everyone to have that opportunity. Folks are going to keep fighting for the chance for a better future, and I want us to preserve that. Full story

September 2, 2013

Take Five: Robert W. Goodlatte

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work. This week, Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., talks about National League teams vs. American League teams, his favorite hiking trail and what’s on his reading list.

Q. What made you decide to transition from lawyer to congressman?

A. I had always been interested in Congress. In fact, after law school, I worked as district director for former Congressman Caldwell Butler before practicing law. My interest in politics and participation at the local level over the years, as well as my desire to serve the 6th District, led me to run for Congress. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, my law background is put to use on a daily basis!

Q. Where is your favorite place to go hiking? Why?

A. The Appalachian Trail, which winds across the ridges and valleys of my district for more than 200 miles. One of my favorite spots is McAfee Knob. It’s hard to beat the view from the top!  It is said to be the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail.

Q. On Facebook you list the Red Sox as being a team you like. How did that happen? Do the Nationals get any love, as long as they are not playing the Red Sox?

A. I am a lifelong Red Sox fan, but the Nationals are now my National League team. The Salem Red Sox are a minor-league team right outside the 6th District that I also follow closely. I enjoy seeing players in Boston who have moved up through Salem and eventually make it to the big leagues. It would be great to see the Nationals play the Red Sox in the World Series.

Q. Of all the people you follow on Twitter, whose tweets do you enjoy the most and why?

A. I follow a lot of local news outlets. It’s a good way to keep up with what’s going on at home.

Q. Two books you like are on John Adams and Abraham Lincoln. Do you have a penchant for historical nonfiction or does your literary taste run the gamut?

A. I read just about every genre, but I am particularly interested in presidential history. I am currently reading “A Passion to Lead: Theodore Roosevelt in His Own Words,” which is edited by Laura Ross. Another interesting fact is that I have visited homes of 42 of the 44 presidents.

August 5, 2013

Take Five: Robert Pittenger

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work. This week Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., talks about being banished from caffeine and what he’s learned from strong leaders.

Q. You have long days while Congress is in session. Are you a coffee/tea/soda addict now? What is your beverage of choice to get you through the day?

A. My staff won’t let me have caffeine. They say I’m high strung enough without it! The long days and busy schedule have forced me to start wearing rubber-soled shoes. After work, I enjoy a club soda with a splash of cranberry juice, and occasionally a glass of wine.

Q. You began your career in service to your faith. Do you continue working with faith-based projects?

A. Actually, I was in east Asia on a mission trip when I was first contacted about running for Congress. My wife and I met while working for a campus ministry organization, and we continue to be actively involved with several Christian ministry groups.

Q. What is your favorite movie of all time and why?

A. “Patton.” Gen. Patton was a remarkable military leader, and I am always interested in learning from great leaders.

Q. What are your plans over the congressional recess?

A. “Recess” was in the fourth grade when you go outside and play kickball! During August, I will host seven town hall meetings in the district, congratulate summer school graduates and travel to Israel with Majority Leader Eric Cantor. May I have my club soda now?

Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world [some place you have not visited], where would you go, and why?

A. Australia — a beautiful country that is fertile for growth and great opportunity.

July 29, 2013

Take Five: Ami Bera

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.

This week, Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., talks about the serenity of waterfront spots, as well as the similarities of two capital cities.

Q. What, if any, successes are you most proud of in your term in Congress so far?

A. I’ve only been in Congress since January, but I’m proud of the work I’ve done with my colleagues to start to create a sense of bipartisanship in the House. Our freshman class gets along very well, both Democrats and Republicans, and I think over time this class is really going to leave its mark on Congress. I’m also proud to be a co-chair of the No Labels Problem Solvers coalition, a group of members from both parties who are working together to try to break through partisan gridlock.

Q. As a congressional representative, you obviously don’t have “normal” work hours. Are you planning to take a break over the recess?

A. During August, I have several events planned in my Sacramento County district. Among the many things I’ll be doing are Congress on Your Corner meetings with constituents, a veterans resource fair and town hall to help our vets get the services they need, an event with local business leaders and our local Chamber of Commerce, and several back to school events. In addition to time in the district, I’ll also be traveling to India and Israel to deepen my understanding of the U.S. relations with these key allies and to promote trade and economic development in the Sacramento region.

Q. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A. I love the outdoors. I’m an avid fisherman and love to get out on the water when I can. I also love backpacking and going on summer backpacking trips. Most people also may not know I’m the only Unitarian Universalist in Congress and only the third Indian-American ever elected to Congress.

Q. Do you play or follow a particular sport or sports?

A. I played basketball all through high school. Now I golf and snowboard when I can, which is not often. And when I’m back home, I spend a lot of time swimming.

Q. What is your favorite place in D.C. that reminds you of home?

A. I love to walk along the Potomac River. Sacramento is the River City and there are many great waterfront spots in my district. Being on the water is incredibly peaceful and it’s one of the most beautiful aspects of both Washington, D.C., and the Sacramento region.

July 22, 2013

Take Five: Susan W. Brooks

It’s time again for Take Five, HOH’s opportunity to get to know a member of Congress better through five fun questions. This week, freshman Rep. Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind., talks about her zeal for equestrianism, Sugarland and “leaning in.”

Q. What have you enjoyed most about your term in Congress so far?

A. I’ve enjoyed meeting and working with so many smart and patriotic people who care so much about our country. Our members are so knowledgeable and have such diverse life experiences. It gives me a lot of optimism that Congress can actually make a difference. Everyone I’ve met here — staff included — is incredibly sharp, dedicated and kind.

Q. What music helps you unwind?

A. I listen to Jason Mraz a lot. I really like his live album, “Beautiful Mess,” that was recorded in Chicago. I also enjoy Sugarland quite a bit. I’ve been lucky enough to watch both Jason Mraz and Sugarland play live.

Q. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A. I’m a trail rider and have ridden horses for 30 years both in Indiana and out West. I think it’s a character-building activity.

Q. What was the last book you read and would recommend to someone?

A. “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. She did a great job talking to so many women about their experiences. A lot of people don’t realize that the book is about more than just her story. It’s about a huge cross section of women from around the country. She gave a voice to a lot of perspectives that I can relate to. Sandberg’s view is that there are not enough women in positions of authority helping to make decisions that impact our lives. She thinks we need more corporate and government female leaders, and I feel the same way.

Q. What is your favorite place to frequent in Washington, D.C.?

A. The monuments are still powerful to me every time I visit them. They’re great reminders of the sacrifices so many people have made to keep our nation strong. Art and Soul and Cuba Libre are two favorite restaurants that I’ve visited so far.

July 15, 2013

Take Five: Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo.

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his/her legislative work.

This week, Congress’ newest member, freshman Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., talks about life in D.C., farming in Missouri and college football.

Q. Having worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for about a month now, what has been the biggest adjustment for you?

A. How slow everything is working; serving at the state level for eight years in the House of Representatives there, you can usually see light in the tunnel pretty significantly and you can see things moving and getting done quickly, but it seems like everything is moving at a snail’s pace right now.

Q. You spent some time studying in Cambridge while in law school — if you could travel anywhere today, where would you go?

A. I would say Australia. It’s just a country that I’ve never traveled to, and I think it would be a good visit.

Q. You are a fourth-generation farmer — what is your favorite part of your family’s farm?

A. I’m the fourth-generation owner of our family farm. Being a farmer, I think, is pretty significant. … I have a strong interest in agriculture, let’s put it that way. The best thing about the family farm is that it’s been in our family for several generations and just to be out there. … I enjoy listening to the cows more than I do people yelling and griping in Washington, D.C.

Q. Speaking of D.C., what is your favorite part of the city so far in the time you’ve spent here?

A. The history of D.C. Knowing that you’re walking in the same halls that so many other former leaders of our country were walking in, I think that’s pretty significant — definitely the history.

Q. Will your Missouri Tigers bounce back this year in the SEC?

A. Absolutely. I compare the Missouri Tigers to myself, being a graduate of Missouri and being the newest member to Congress, and Mizzou is also the newest member of the SEC. I look at it from the perspective that a lot of people may be underestimating the Tigers, but they’re going to overperform this year.

By JM Rieger Posted at 1:29 p.m.
DC, TakeFive

May 20, 2013

Take Five: Sen. Christopher S. Murphy

It’s time again for Take Five, HOH’s opportunity to get to know a member of Congress better through five fun questions. This week, Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., discusses Senate hazing rituals, pizza and memories of Tom Petty.

Take Five: Sen. Christopher S. Murphy

Christopher S. Murphy is the youngest current U.S. senator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo.)" src="http://hoh.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/murphy_026_0409131-445x330.jpg" width="445" height="330" /> Murphy is the youngest current senator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Q. How does it feel to be the youngest current senator? [Murphy turns 40 on Aug. 3.]

A. Once you get beyond all the hazing, the wedgies and the wet willies, it’s not a bad position to be in. It certainly perks up the ears of kids in the room [in my district] when I tell them I’m the youngest member of the Senate. Full story

May 13, 2013

Sen. Johnny Isakson | Take Five

It’s Tuesday and time for another Take Five, HOH’s chance to get to know a member of Congress with five lighthearted questions relatively unrelated to legislative work. This week, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., dishes on Peach State cuisine, T-ball versus ballet and life in multiple legislatures.

Q. What is your favorite food and why?

A. Fried chicken. It’s really very simple: My mother cooked the best fried chicken anybody ever cooked, and I grew up eating fried chicken every Sunday after church for lunch. Full story

May 6, 2013

Take Five: Rep. Steve Chabot

It’s time for another Take Five, HOH’s chance to get to know a member of Congress with five fun questions relatively unrelated to the business of legislation. This week, Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, breaks down his love of history, Cincinnati and dogs over cats.

Q. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A. A lot of different things at different points. Probably the longest term as a kid, probably an airline pilot. It’d be interesting to fly to different places. Never did it, but that’s what I probably wanted to be. Wanted to be a schoolteacher, and I did do that. Never thought of being a politician when I was very young, but one never knows how things are going to turn out in one’s life.

Take Five: Rep. Steve Chabot

Steve Chabot (the littlest in the picture) is approximately 3 years old in this 1956 photo. He is standing with his older brother Ron and parents Gerard and Doris in Reading, Ohio (a part of greater Cincinnati, Ohio). They are all standing outside their trailer in the trailer park where the family lived. (CQ Roll Call file photo.)" src="http://hoh.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/Chabotattic112502-1-358x335.jpg" width="358" height="335" /> Chabot, center, is about 3 years old in this 1956 photo. He is standing with his older brother, Ron, and parents, Gerard and Doris, in Reading, a part of greater Cincinnati, Ohio. The family is standing outside the trailer where they lived. (File Photo)

Full story

April 22, 2013

Take Five With Rep. Doug Collins

It’s Tuesday, time for another Take Five, HOH’s chance to get to know a member of Congress by asking five questions relatively unrelated to their legislative work. This week, we talked with Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., about his time as a chaplain in the Navy and Air Force, as well as his ambitions to be an astronaut.
Full story

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