Ivan V. Natividad

Roughing It

For politicos and Hill staffers, Washington’s Renegade Rugby Football Club is a way to escape the hectic hassle of work while playing a sport they see as political in nature.

“Being able to blow off steam by hitting people really hard helps relieve tension,” says David Joseph, political analyst for the United Food and Commercial Workers. “And there’s a direct parallel between politics and rugby. The team is definitely more important than the individual in both politics and rugby.”

Take Five With Rep. Mary Bono Mack
Harry Reid Meets Up With New Nationals Outfielder

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met up with fellow Nevadan Bryce Harper at Nationals Park today.

Arriving two hours before the opening pitch of a game against the division rival Philadelphia Phillies, the Nevada Democrat chatted with Nationals manager Davey Johnson and political columnist George Will.

Alley Cats

If the White House bowling alley were a person, it would now qualify for full Social Security benefits.

Opened 65 years ago today, the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley was constructed in the basement of the White House’s West Wing and then moved to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in 1955. 

Take Five

Tuesday is here once again, and that means it’s time for HOH to help you get to know another lawmaker through five fun questions. This week, Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) discusses Peyton Manning, rap alter egos and art museums.

Q: What was the most peculiar case you remember working on as a law enforcement officer?    A: It would have to be an organized crime case. I’m not at liberty to offer any details, though.

Congressman in the Cockpit

While most teenagers in Munster, Ind., could be found cruising around town in their dad’s old Chevy pickup, now-Rep. Todd Rokita was “wheels up” in the sky, flying a high-wing, two-seat Cessna 152 aircraft.

“I’ve been flying since I was 17,” the Indiana Republican told Roll Call in an interview. “It’s always been a passion of mine since I was a little boy.” 

Take Five

Tuesday is here once again, and HOH is ready to help you get acquainted with another lawmaker through five fun questions. This week, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) discusses filibusters and fried chicken and recalls memories from his days in the Army.

Q: Which Hawaiian island is your favorite? A: It would be bad politics to favor one island over another. However, I have always looked upon Kauai with fond favor. It is the oldest island in the archipelago and the place where my grandparents, accompanied by my father, who was 3, landed after immigrating from Fukuoka, Japan, in September of 1899.

Hill Climbers: Lessons From the East
Teaching in China Helped Staffer Learn Art of Compromise

While teaching English in China’s Shandong province, Jesse Haladay picked up communication skills that would eventually lead to a career on Capitol Hill.

“I definitely acquired my public speaking skills from teaching,” said the new legislative assistant to Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.). “I was also able to absorb the culture and try to understand where people from different backgrounds are coming from.”

Take Five

It’s recess Monday, and to celebrate, HOH sat down with Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) to talk about the Last Frontier and its hockey, sledding and foremost painter.

Q: Alaska doesn’t have a major league professional sports team. If you could create one, which sport would it be and what would you name them?

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane
West Coast Lawmakers Recount Their Travels and Travails

In the early 1980s, during a routine flight from Washington, D.C., to California, Rep. Pete Stark met a young entrepreneur who was interested in donating computers to schools but was stymied by the way the tax code treated such donations.

That chance encounter between the crusty Democratic Congressman and the young computer whiz named Steve Jobs eventually led to the creation of a charitable deduction allowance for computer donations.

Take Five

Every week HOH gets to know a Member of Congress better through a series of five fun questions. This week, we visit with Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).

Q: As a former student of journalism at the University of Kansas, who were your favorite reporters?

Hill Climbers: Alaskan Is Begich’s Eyes and Ears

As a child growing up in rural Alaska, Agatha Erickson always wanted to make a difference in the native community. As a rural liaison in the office of the state’s Democratic Senator, Mark Begich, she now has that opportunity.

“I always knew that I wanted to work for Alaska in some capacity,” she said in an interview with Roll Call. “I wanted to use my education and skills to make Alaska better, specifically rural Alaska and the native community there.”

Longtime Hill Staffer Helps Keep Capitol Hill Chorale Singing Sweetly

Virginia “Ginny” Gano earned a reputation on Capitol Hill over the course of 37 years as the motherly taskmaster who kept the offices of Ohio Representatives running smoothly. 

Now she fills the same role as the administrative director of the Capitol Hill Chorale, a 90-voice ensemble that draws from the Hill community. 

Take Five

Tuesday is here once again, and that means it’s time for HOH to catch up with another Member of Congress. Today, it’s Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii). Deciding to retire at the end of this Congress, Akaka leaves us with a song ... in the park.

Q: As a former choir director of 17 years, what was your favorite song to perform? A: I was choir director at Kawaiaha`o Church, known as the “Westminster Abbey of the Pacific.” One of my favorite songs to perform is “Hallelujah Chorus,” composed by George Frideric Handel. I could always feel the deep emotion when we performed it as a full choir.

Discussing ‘The Dark Side’
Controversial Author Brings Message on Radical Islam to Hill As New Book on Middle Eastern Revolutions Is Released

Nonie Darwish grew up practicing the religion she now condemns. 

“Islam is a religion that uses a lot of fear,” Darwish, a Christian convert from Islam and founder of Arabs for Israel, told Roll Call in a recent interview. “The Quran is full of encouragement to kill and to hate.” 

Hill Climbers: Reporter’s Path From Hawaii to Hill

As a reporter in Honolulu, Ashley Nagaoka Boylan asked the tough questions. As press secretary for Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), she is now the one answering them.

“I started watching the news at a very young age, and I wanted to be a news reporter,” Boylan told Roll Call. “I’ve always loved talking and telling stories — even to strangers.”

Take Five

Tuesday is here once again, and because it’s Fat Tuesday, what better way to celebrate than to sit down with Rep. Charles Boustany (R), the Congressman from Cajun Country in Southwestern Louisiana whose 56th birthday is today.

Q: It’s Mardi Gras: How will you be celebrating the festivities? A: I have celebrated on both krewes and floats in years past, but this year I will be attending a Mardi Gras ball with my wife in Lake Charles, La.

Looking for Love? Speed Dating Aims to Get the Heart Racing

District locals looking for love this Valentine’s Day can tilt the odds in their favor by going on 20 dates in one night.

The social networking site Professionals in the City hosts more than 1,000 social gatherings a year, including daily speed-dating events that give Washington singles an opportunity to meet potential partners through a swift series of four-minute meet and greets.

Lessons From the Classroom Apply to Congress

Rep. Mike Honda’s road to Congress began in front of an audience of 30. And they weren’t even old enough to vote.

But as a high school science teacher in California’s Silicon Valley in the 1970s, he also targeted an older set.

Take Five

Tuesday is here again, and HOH has cornered another Member of Congress to submit to our five questions. This week, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) talks robots, tigers and iPhones ... oh my. Q: As a Californian, what city outside your own Congressional district do you enjoy visiting the most? A: San Francisco, to see the 49ers play [and] so I can see how great it will be when the team’s home is in Santa Clara!

Q: If you were a robot, what would you want to be programmed to do for people? A: A chef robot fully capable of consistently beating the Iron Chef.