Mark Takano

Two Tree Words Stump Congressmen
Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post wins bee with ‘gallica’

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., was the last politician standing at the National Press Club Spelling Bee. Trees were his downfall. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Not everyone in Congress was glued to cable news on Thursday night. Some were spelling.

“Do we have team names? We thought we could be ‘The Representatives,’ and they could be ‘The Enemies of the People,’” said Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, one of four lawmakers to compete in the the National Press Club Spelling Bee. The annual event pits politicians against members of the media.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show
Our favorite visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

Rep. Mark Takano declared April 26 as International Chart Day. (@FloorCharts screenshot of C-SPAN)

Bunny ears, definitions and big red signs made up the best of floor charts this month. But, more importantly, charts got their own day, which was announced through a ... you guessed it, floor chart. 

The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

One-Tenth of Congress Lists Student Loan Liabilities
‘I don’t understand how young people can become teachers or work in the public service arena’

California Rep. Mark Takano, a House Education member, is still paying back student loans for a 2010 master’s degree from UC Riverside. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The 115th Congress scored as one of the richest ever, but one in 10 lawmakers still holds student loan debt, either personally or for a family member. 

Fifty-three members listed a combined $1.8 million in student loans on their financial disclosures. Twenty-eight of them posted a positive net worth while 25 showed negative net worth in Roll Call’s comprehensive Wealth of Congress project.

Takano Shares His Family’s Secret
California Democrat made a year’s supply of the family teriyaki sauce over winter recess

California Rep. Mark Takano shares his family’s teriyaki sauce with Roll Call. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call)

An annual ritual for Rep. Mark Takano’s family is steeped in teriyaki sauce.

Over the winter recess, the California Democrat joined his parents, Nancy and Willie, and his brothers to make a year’s supply of the sauce in their family home in Riverside.

Congressional Offices Announced as Democracy Award Finalists to Help Establish Trust in Congress
Congressional Management Foundation picks finalists in four categories

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert and Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, right, are among the finalists. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

To try to “restore a little faith” in Congress, the Congressional Management Foundation on Friday announced the finalists for its first Democracy Awards.

The organization chose its finalists for their focus on constituent services, their workplace environment, innovation, and transparency.

Former Takai Staffer Still Getting Paid From Campaign Cash
Paid himself a monthly salary of $5,759 a month from late congressman’s campaign account

A former staffer for the late Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, is still being paid a salary after Takai's death. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former staffer for the late Hawaii Rep. Mark Takai  is still getting paid thousands of dollars from Takai’s campaign coffers after the congressman’s death more than a year ago.

Dylan Beesley was Takai’s campaign manager and said that after Takai died of pancreatic cancer he became campaign treasurer at the request of the family, according to Hawaii News Now.

Democratic Staffers Learn Digital Strategies From Social Media Gurus
Social media star Sen. Cory Booker kicks off first annual Digital Day on the Hill

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker kicks off the Democrats’ Digital Day on the Hill on Thursday. (Courtesy Democratic Digital Communications Staff Association)

Democratic staffers heard from social media gurus over the House recess last week about creating strategies to amplify their party’s digital efforts.

Many offices don’t have a digital director, especially minority party staff on committees that don’t have the resources to fund a position. Their digital efforts fall to other staffers, often the press secretary or communications director.

LGBTQ Women Balance Opportunity, Possible Extinction in Congress
Close calls, impossible races, and evolving bench contribute to low numbers

If Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema vacates her 9th District seat to run for Senate, there could be no LGBTQ women in the House in the next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been almost 20 years since Tammy Baldwin’s historic election, yet just one woman has followed her through the LGBTQ glass ceiling. And if both women lose competitive races in 2018, the next Congress could be without any LGBTQ women.

While the lack of LGBTQ women in Congress is inextricably linked to the dearth of women on Capitol Hill, the story of lesbian candidates includes some close calls, quixotic races, and a movement still evolving to position more qualified LGBTQ women to run for higher office.

Far-Right Protesters in Virginia Included ‘Very Fine’ People, Trump Says
Trump says ‘both sides’ to blame for Charlottesville unrest

President Donald Trump delivers remarks following a meeting on infrastructure at Trump Tower on Tuesday. He appeared to defend some of the white supremacist groups who help spawn deadly violence Saturday in Virginia. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended some of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who were part of the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, protests last weekend, saying there were “very fine people” on both sides of the racially charged unrest.

A defiant Trump, just a day after slamming the pro-white groups who organized the two-day protests of the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, appeared to give some of their members cover. “There is blame on both sides,” he told reporters during what amounted to a brief impromptu press conference at Trump Tower in New York.