Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

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.

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