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Take Five: Rep. Lee Zeldin

(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, freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., talks about his vice, putting his twin daughters in time out and the biggest difference between serving in the military and serving in Congress. Q: Did you have a first goose bump-causing moment in Congress? A: I would say literally the very first time I stepped onto the House floor. I had seen the chamber on the TV, but literally that first moment of stepping on, and it really meant a lot to me.  

Q: We’ve heard from your staff that one of your hobbies is clearing out your inbox, and that you’ve been known to send the occasional 3 a.m. email; is that one of your favorite things, to see that empty inbox? A: Nothing makes me happier in the evening than to have downtime to be able to clear out my email inbox. Some people in life might go out to a restaurant and grab a beer or wine. For me, my vice is spending that extra moment to be able to clean out my email inbox.  

Q: You’re the father of twins. Has dealing with your two young ones been at all helpful in dealing with Congress? A: My girls have been told by their friends and teachers at elementary school that they’re famous and it’s important that as they walk around the house calling themselves famous, that we show them where the corner is for time-out as quickly as possible to put them back in their place. They have me wrapped around their fingers and toes, [so] the best way for me to immediately get grounded and clear my head after leaving D.C. is to go home see my girls and give them a hug and a kiss.  

Q: Do you have [an example of] one of the biggest differences between the Army and Congress? A: In the military, when you see anything at all that you want to address, there is a system in place to stop nonsense dead in its tracks. In Congress, and politics in general, there’s a lot more that you have to navigate through without mechanisms.  

Q: Do you have a favorite food or song or movie or book that you always look forward to? A: When I’m home, my daughters love to listen to a station that runs on Sirius satellite radio called "Kidz Bop" which just decimates all these great songs, all these little kids singing. It’s nice to be able to put on the radio and go to the movies with the family when you have downtime, as little as there is.

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