Heard on the Hill: But Is He on Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:03pm

Turns out Twi-hards aren’t just teenage girls; a few Members of Congress are on board with the craze. HOH noticed several Members, including Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Harry Teague (D-N.M.), at an event Tuesday on the National Mall hosted by “Twilight” actor and teen heartthrob Kellan Lutz.

Moran tells HOH that while he is “not necessarily a fan” of the vampire series, he and Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) recently paid a visit to a diner in Washington state that the fictional lovebirds Bella and Edward visit.

“We weren’t as excited as the young people, but we tried to be cool,” the Virginia Democrat jokes.

On the Mall, Moran and his fellow Twi-hards paid tribute to the “100 Best Communities for Young People,” as determined by the America’s Promise Alliance and ING. Alexandria, Va., which is in Moran’s district, made the list, as did Lutz’s hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz.

The dreamy star admits he was a bit of a nerd in high school, especially when it came to math and chemistry. In fact, the actor attended Chapman University in California on a full scholarship before dropping out to pursue acting.

Lobbyists Have Gone Fishin’

Lobbyist Holly Pitt Young doesn’t exactly fit the description of someone who goes catfish noodling.

Or hog hunting. Or cattle roping. Or skeet shooting.

But the thin, blond, stylish mom ditched her heels to hunt, rope, shoot and noodle — which involves baiting and catching angry catfish with bare hands and feet — for the new Animal Planet show “Hillbilly Handfishin’,” airing 9 p.m. Friday.

The show puts city dwellers in situations that are out of their element. Young and lobbyist Tara Bradshaw of Ernst & Young traveled to Temple, Okla., to compete against two other teams — a pair of Baltimore surfers and a married couple from Alexandria, Va.

“I didn’t think it was going to be nearly as dangerous as it was,” says Young, who handles public affairs for consulting company Aristotle and is a senior adviser at JC Watts Cos. “I thought, ‘Oh, going to Oklahoma and catching catfish. That’s fine.'”

It was far more physical than Young imagined. To noodle, for example, she had to battle copperhead snakes, snapping turtles and beavers, just so she could get a catfish to bite her foot — and latch on.

“That’s kind of the easy part,” she adds. “The hard part is to get the vice-like grip off of your foot.”

But Young emerged with a newfound strength, joking: “I felt like I had the biggest cojones on the face of the Earth.”

Congress’ Mr. Mom

When one thinks of working mothers and Congress, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) or Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) come to mind.

One name that doesn’t: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.

But the Maryland Democrat — a 64-year-old father of two grown children — will receive the “Best of Congress” award from Working Mother magazine today during an event at Charlie Palmer Steak. Although Ruppersberger isn’t a mom, his office offers mom-friendly policies, and he has supported legislation to help working families.

Ruppersberger’s office provides three months of paid maternity leave and three weeks of paid paternity leave. New moms can also work a compressed workweek, a part-time schedule or even telecommute.

Which makes sense, considering his office is full of women, says Deputy Chief of Staff Heather Molino (mom to “adorable” 9-month-old Spencer). “His Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, Senior Legislative Assistant, and Scheduler are all working Moms,” she says via e-mail. “In fact, 80% of our staff are women. They fill almost all of the leadership positions in our office.”

What’s in a Twitter Name?

Finding Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Twitter just got a whole lot easier.

Earlier this week, the Florida Republican changed her Twitter handle from the nondescript @IRL to
@RosLehtinen.

“When I first set up the Twitter account, I used IRL as a quickie starter name and always meant to change it to my actual name,” Ros-Lehtinen explains. “But it was always, ‘Mañana, I shall do it.’ Now it’s mañana! And so I changed it.”

The change was spurred by the confusion that her initials were causing.

Ros-Lehtinen says searches for her on Twitter wouldn’t always link to her account.

“Folks tell me that they would enter my name and nada would come up. Now they can try spelling it. Good luck with that!” she jokes.

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