Take Five: Howard Coble
Posted at 4:12 p.m. on Sept. 23, 2013
(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?
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.