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Take Five: Ted Lieu

(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, Rep.-elect Ted Lieu, D-Calif., House Democrats' freshman class president, talks about his turbo technology, hotel points and celebrities in prison. Q. What was your first car? Any great memories of it? A. It was a Ford Thunderbird Turbo. It was a black and ... the inside was red, and it looked really cool.  

I had it starting in college ... I’m a fan of 80s music, and so I think that the folks I would take around in the car got sick of it after a while because I would keep playing the same songs over and over.  

I like Berlin, the group, and I would play songs like "The Metro" and "Masquerade"… sort of ad nauseum, and it was annoying, I think, for my friends.  

The turbo technology at that time wasn’t great, so there would be a lag when you accelerate. Turbo technology today is much better, so it’s hard to notice when a car has turbo versus when a car does not ... I have a lot of information about turbo chargers.  

Q. The Los Angeles area is, of course, pretty well known for movies and films. What's your favorite movie, and why? A. "The Usual Suspects" is one of my favorite movies, because I didn’t see the ending coming the way it came. I’m also a big Kevin Spacey fan, but I do kind of like movies where the ending is something I didn’t quite expect. So I like "No Way Out" as well.  

And then sort of growing up, even though you could see the ending coming, I did like "Top Gun." I probably watched that movie over 25 times.  

Q. What's your favorite place to vacation outside of the District? A. I like going to national parks. I took my family to Zion a couple years ago, which is an amazing place.  

We’ve gone to Yosemite, we’ve gone to the Grand Canyon, we’ve gone to just a number of different national parks throughout America. I think national parks are one of our nation’s treasures.  

Q. Have you met any celebrities? Which ones stand out? A. George Takei was one of my supporters, so it was a thrill for me because I’m a big fan of "Star Trek." But, he is also a civil rights leader and he has been at the forefront of marriage equality and LGBT issues [so] I am very honored that he was one of my supporters.  

I also had the honor of working with Tim Robbins on recidivism issues in terms of lowering recidivism among prisoners and doing that through a program called Arts-In-Corrections … His particular program he runs is called the Actors Gang and so they will go to a state prison in California and teach a course to prisoners.  

Q. Where are you going to live in D.C? A. Over my lifetime I just kept accumulation points at hotels. I’ve accumulated [so many] points that I can stay in hotels for free until about April. So, that’s what I’m going to do, you know, and find a place after that.  

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