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There She Is …

Look around. The next Miss America could be working in an office near you! And the odds are even better that the next Miss District of Columbia could be working in an office near you! Two of the 10 finalists for the 2004 Miss D.C. pageant are young staffers on Capitol Hill.

And if you don’t already have plans for Saturday,

head straight to the George Washington University Marvin Center theater and cheer them on.

[IMGCAP(1)] One of the contestants is a lovely Democratic brunette, Joan Kato, 23, a graduate of the University of Iowa and the scheduler for Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). Kato — who we hope will be more outgoing during her competition in the pageant this weekend — did not return phone calls seeking interviews. Or, as one source told us, “Joan is not going to talk to you.”

But the other Capitol Hill contestant did, the charming Holly Kilness, a Republican blonde who turned 24 on Friday. Kilness, a staff assistant to Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), hails from UFO Capital Roswell, N.M., where, as loonytoon legend has it, a flying saucer crashed in 1947 and the government removed the craft and maybe even some bodies.

Anyway, Kilness, who shied away from chatting about her town’s otherworldly fame, competed for the title of Miss Roswell when she was 18 and went on to Oral Roberts University.

Six years later, she finds herself living her lifelong dream of working in Washington politics and, in addition, competing for the Miss District of Columbia crown and a shot at winning a $5,000 scholarship for graduate school. Kilness says she intends to get a master’s degree in political management.

Kilness, whose pageant platform is “civic participation of American youth,” said she has known all her life that she wanted to work in politics. “Even fairly young, at 9 or 10 years old,” she said. But she’s not sure she will be a candidate for political office herself. For now, she says, she’s happy to be a staffer.

Kilness didn’t want to talk too much about her competition in the Miss D.C. pageant, mainly because she worried that others on Capitol Hill might make fun of her. “The people who think that pageants are dumb and silly just don’t get it,” she said.

One thing we do know is that Kilness will be taking a page out of Old Blue Eyes’ playbook, singing “Someone To Watch Over Me” in the talent competition.

Kilness, by the way, is leaving Wilson’s office this month to take a job as a legislative correspondent for Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.).

Kato (the one who didn’t return our calls) will be performing a monologue from a screenplay she’s working on, according to former Miss District of Columbia title holder Sonya Gavankar, who is producing this year’s pageant. Gavankar says Kato and Kilness are fine contestants. “Both of them, just so on the ball,” she says.

Special thanks to our tipster “Trailer Trash” for bringing this item to our attention.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is being very sweet about remembering the president’s 58th birthday today. Not so sweet, though, are the mounds of haikus they’ve collected to deliver to Bush/Cheney campaign headquarters (wherever that is; the folks at the DCCC say they can’t find it).

The DCCC, on its Web site, is asking its readers to make July 6 “President Bush’s last birthday as president.” With no slight intended, of course, it continues, “Being a well-read man of leisure, you know he must be a fan of the ancient art of haiku. … The best and worst haiku will be featured on this site, and they will all be delivered to Bush/Cheney HQ.” For those of you who skipped your English classes, a haiku is a usually unrhymed lyric poem with lines of five, seven and five syllables.

A few of the haikus already featured on the DCCC Web site include:

Happy Birthday, Dub.

The Presidency, you flubbed.

Back to Crawford, bub!

….. and ….

Just like your Daddy

You’ll be gone after one term

Happy Birthday, George.

In addition, the DCCCers are offering your pick of birthday card to send with your haiku. One features a cartoon picture of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) wearing a “44” baseball cap and Bush next to him wearing one that says “EX PREZ.” Another features an unflattering cartoon of a pot-bellied Vice President Cheney, wearing only swim trunks and a birthday hat, with the words: “Happy F@!#ing Birthday, Mr. President…Love, Dick Cheney.”

Granny’s All Right. A friend of HOH’s ran into New Hampshire state Sen. Burt Cohen on the beach in Portsmouth, N.H., the other day.

Cohen, you may recall, was the short-lived Democratic challenger to Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). He was forced to drop out of the race recently when his campaign manager — and $200,000 in campaign funds — disappeared. Granite State Democrats have turned to Doris Haddock, the 94-year-old campaign finance reform advocate better known as Granny D, to be their standard-bearer.

Cohen has kept mum since dropping out. But our friend, who knows Cohen slightly, was able to elicit some pearls of wisdom. He recounts their conversation this way.

Our Friend: “How’s everything going?”

Cohen (shrugs): “Sucks. Didn’t expect to be able to be on the beach this time of year.”

OF: “Sorry things didn’t work out.”

C (shrugs again): “Thanks.”

OF: “So I guess we have to vote for Granny D now.”

C: “She’s all right.”

Thune to Lautenberg: Give Money. South Dakota Republican Senatorial candidate John Thune is looking for love in all the wrong places. And so is Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

The Thune campaign sent out a mass fundraising solicitation to GOP donors with a letter enclosed from Frist asking each “Dear Fellow Republican” to offer up generous support to help Thune defeat Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).

After stressing in capital letters how important the race is, the letter continues: “John’s campaign to defeat Tom Daschle will cost millions of dollars.”

Maybe that’s why they sent the letter to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), one of the 25 wealthiest Members of Congress. That would be about the only reason.

“Boy was that a waste of paper,” said a miffed Alex Formuzis, Lautenberg’s press secretary. “I’m fairly certain Senator Lautenberg won’t be giving money to any Republicans running for office.”

Dick Wadhams, Thune’s campaign manager, laughed about the obvious mistake. But then he thought better of it and asked HOH: “Do you know when we can expect that check?”