Heard on the Hill: Quigley Puts On His Hairnet

Posted July 12, 2010 at 6:24pm

Rep. Mike Quigley isn’t just a Member of Congress. The Illinois Democrat also is a mail carrier, a streets and sanitation worker, an Asian carp fisherman, a carhop at a hot dog stand and even a zookeeper.

For the day, anyway.

Since taking office, Quigley often has served as what he calls an “undercover Congressman,” working in real-world jobs as a hands-on way to gauge the effects of government policies. On Friday, Quigley went undercover as a baker, working at Eli’s Cheesecake Co. in Chicago.

HOH hears Quigley made “dippers,” which are essentially frozen cheesecake on a stick. (Yum!) Quigley then helped sell the dippers, with proceeds going to charity.

“In Washington, you deal with a lot of theory, but to meet the folks at Eli’s puts a human face on the legislation I’m working on,” Quigley tells HOH.

“It allows me to better understand the needs of my constituents and then more effectively represent them,” he says. “It also reinforces that I’m a better legislator than a baker.”

A Low-Key Saturday Night for Rahm

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel hit Adams Morgan on Saturday night — but don’t worry, he wasn’t partying it up with any summer interns.

An HOH spy eyed Emanuel dining with three friends at Cashion’s Eat Place. The foursome shared several appetizers, and a spy tells HOH that Emanuel ordered organic chicken over potato puree for a main course.

The group shared spearmint ice cream and a salty chocolate-caramel tart for dessert, our spy says. “It was clear that the four dining companions were close friends based on the banter and laughter at the table,” the spy tells HOH.

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

There’s plenty of power on Capitol Hill — and plenty of power walkers.

Members, staffers and even Capitol Police officers are in the middle of the eighth WalkingWorks Capitol Hill Challenge, a six-week competition sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to see which teams can log the most total miles and highest average miles per walker. Participants wear pedometers during the event to keep track of how much they are walking and then log their miles online.

The competition kicked off June 16, and so far, the 1,078 participants have walked more than 49,412 miles.

As of July 7, the team Our Boots Are Made for Walking, from the office of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), was in the lead for total miles logged with 2,255.3. But JCT Exercisers, from the Joint Committee on Taxation, were nipping at their heels with 2,192.02 miles. In the average-miles-per-walker category, Team Michaud, from the office of Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), was in first place with 115.23 miles, and the team from the office of Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-Ill.) was in second place with 113.68 miles.

Along with burning off extra calories, the walkers are moving for a good cause: The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association will donate $10,000 to the American Diabetes Association at the end of the competition.

Chili Pepper Preserves

If you like tongue-scorchingly hot chili peppers, you should thank a few Members of Congress for going to great lengths to make sure they’ll always be around to spice up your salsa.

In what sounds like the plot of a sci-fi movie, on Sunday a delegation that included several Members delivered a passel of chili pepper and other seeds to a “doomsday” seed vault located within a mountain on a Norwegian archipelago near the North Pole. At the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the seeds will serve as a backup to ensure crop diversity in case any of the species are wiped out by natural or man-made disasters.

The sort of brotherhood of the chili included Sens. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

The group, which was visiting Norway to attend a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, dropped off the red-hot chili peppers, including Wenk’s Yellow Hots, pico de gallo — or “rooster’s beak” — and San Juan “Tsile.” Their contribution also included gourd seeds from New York and sorghum seeds from Texas.

Udall was particularly interested in preserving his state’s fiery produce. “I’m very pleased that we are saving New Mexico’s most deliciously famous crop in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault,” he said in a release.

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