Heard on the Hill

Take Five: Catherine Cortez Masto

Nevada Democrat recalls Harry Reid telling her to take ‘the time to go through everything’

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto knew what she wanted to do after working for former Democratic Gov. Bob Miller. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, 53, a Nevada Democrat, talks about friends across the aisle, advice from her predecessor Harry Reid and working for the governor.

Q: What advice did former Democratic leader Harry Reid give you before you came to the Senate?

A: He gave me advice in the beginning, he gives me advice now, he gave me advice when I first ran for attorney general. One of the things he has always said was, just the work ethic and just being committed and working hard and making sure you’re doing your homework and studying and research. He talks about how when he first came here, one of the things he did is he worked hard to research and study. He said, ‘I was prepared for every committee. I think I was more prepared than anyone just because I took the time to go through everything.’ That’s one of the things that I remember him saying when I’m preparing for my committees, sometimes late into the night.

[Take Five: Don Bacon]

Q: You were chief of staff for former Nevada Democratic Gov. Bob Miller. Did he inspire you to go into politics?

A: That’s when I fell in love with public policy, yes. I had been in private practice, part of the general civil litigation, and then when I stepped into state government with the governor, it was really focused on trying to solve problems in the community, good policy and talking to folks. That’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

UNITED STATES - JUNE 21: Team Congress coach Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., greets Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., during the Congressional Women's Softball game that pits Congresswomen against female journalists at Watkins Recreation Center on Capitol Hill, June 21, 2017. The game benefits the Young Survival Coalition that helps young women with breast cancer. The press team prevailed 2-1. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Team Congress coach Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., greets Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., during the Congressional Women's Softball game in June. The senator said she got to know Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., through the game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Q: Who is a colleague on the other side of the aisle whom you get along with?

A: There’s quite a few. It was fortunate, I was able to play on the bipartisan softball team for charity and I got to know Shelley [Moore Capito] and just build a relationship with her outside of here, which I think was important.

It was fun because it was both women in the Senate and on the House side, so you got to meet everyone. It was bipartisan, so it didn’t matter, Ds or Rs, everybody was playing on the same team, which is how it should be here in the Senate. It was fun, we got to know one another and build relationships that way.

[Take Five: Tammy Duckworth]

Q: If you could learn how to do something you can’t do, what would it be?

A: Play piano.

Q: If you could have any other job that you haven’t already had, what would you do?

A: That’s a tough one, I don’t know. I’ve never thought of it. I love what I’m doing, I really do. I can’t think of anything. I really love what I’m doing.

[Take Five: Raja Krishnamoorthi]

Quick hits

Last book read: Dick Durbin’s a good book reader and I ask him for books. I’m reading Stephen King’s “Mr. Mercedes” right now. I like Stephen King.

Last movie seen: “Wonder Woman.”

Favorite song of all time: I like all music. … My parents both just loved music from all genres. I don’t have a favorite, I just love music. That’s why I want to play the piano.

Role models: My parents, my grandparents. Both sides came to this country with a hard work ethic and just good principles, good values.

Closest to in Congress: Kamala [Harris], I knew before I came here because we worked together as [state attorneys general]. Maggie [Hassan], I got to know on the campaign trail and just love working with her now. With that said, every single one of my colleagues that I’ve had the opportunity to work with either on committee or just get to know, I like them all. Great people are here and [they] really care.

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