It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.
This week, Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., talks about cheesesteak, Philadelphia and working on Senate campaigns.
Q : I know you’re a hockey fan. Who is your all-time favorite professional player? A : Terry O'Reilly from the Boston Bruins — he just played the game with so much heart and he inspired his teammates.
Q : How do you take your Philly cheesesteak? A : Cheesy wit'. If you’re from the area, that’s the only way you have it. Of course, that means fried onions and I actually ask, if you’re smart, you ask for the provolone so you don’t get the Cheez Whiz. We started to use Geno’s more than Pat’s. But they’re both great. I got to know Geno [the original owner who died in 2011].
[Locals order by saying “wit” or “wit-out,” meaning with or without onions, which is a reference to the Philadelphia accent.] Q: What is your favorite historical site in Philadelphia that you like to visit? A : I’m partial to Independence Hall because of what happened there. When I was a U.S. attorney, my office looked right at it. I also live on the Brandywine Battlefield and that’s a spectacular location to me even though it was not a good day for patriots.
Q: You worked as a campaign aide before running for office. What campaign were you on and what did you learn from it? A : I worked on a number. I managed two Senate races, Specter [the late Arlen Specter, who at the time was a Pennsylvania Republican] and Santorum [former Sen. Rick Santorum, also a Keystone State Republican] victories. I learned that it moves fast, there’s an old saying in politics, there’s the quick and the dead. You have to be quick to be relevant in fast moving news cycles. I still keep in touch with Santorum somewhat, not particularly because you know, we moved into different circles but I had a chance to become very close with his family and a number of people who worked there and had a lot of respect for them all.
Q: Where have you always wanted to travel to and haven’t yet? A : Ireland with my children. I have been there numerous times with my wife, but never with my college-age boys; we would all love to go together. That would be, in my mind, the trip I would like to take the most. I’m a golfer and it would be a natural foursome, we have three sons and myself.
Editor’s note: Look out for Meehan participating in the Congressional Hockey Game on March 2. The game is at 7 p.m. at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.