Every week, HOH gets to know a Member of Congress better through a series of five fun questions. This week, Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) tells HOH all about his Motown roots and love of art.
Q: What’s your favorite genre of music?
A: I’m a Motown guy; that was like the backdrop of my childhood. [I like] Martha Reeves — I actually grew up down the street from her, and her brother and I were buddies.
Q: You graduated from Cornell University with a degree in fine arts. Do you have a favorite artist?
A: One is [Pablo] Picasso. I admire him ... because he recognized the power of African art. [And] he had very good technical skills as a child artist. He mastered as a teenager what it took a lifetime for other artists to do. So essentially, he wanted to go beyond that by going back to his childhood. He had to make an effort to essentially unlearn all the things he had learned about seeing and art.
Q: If you had any job other than your current one, what would it be?
A: If I weren’t doing this job, I would be a full-time painter.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “It’s a Wonderful Life” because it shows that everybody makes a big difference in the world, but especially for those people that don’t think they do.
Q: Who is your best friend in Congress?
A: I was [Rep. John Conyers’ (D-Mich.)] staffer, and I enjoy working here with him, to be able to consult with him. Sometimes I vote different ways, but still, it’s good in a way to work with someone who was unintentionally a political metric. I would look at how hard he worked 20 years ago, and by working with him, I understood what a Member’s office could do to help people.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.