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Take Five: Rep. Dina Titus

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH  talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

This week, the multitalented (and potential Senate contender) Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., talks about teaching, traveling and tap dancing. Yes, tap dancing. Q: You have written [a book] about nuclear power and waste; can you tell me what prompted you to write [it], and what the process was like? I’m an academic, so you’re expected to do research and publication, and I enjoy writing and research. It’s kind of like detective work, and that was especially the case for the atomic testing book that I wrote. I got interested in that when I worked as a faculty intern for Sen. Howard Cannon here in Washington back in 1982.  

Q: You were a professor of political science for [more than 30 years.] How is that different from doing politics, or are there any similarities? Well, when you’re a professor you have the luxury of being a critic, and when you’re in elected office it’s your neck on the line. But I think being a teacher made me a better public servant, and vice versa. All the time I was teaching, I was in the state Legislature. So students always like to know ‘what’s it really like’ besides just what the book says. My knowledge of the system helped me be better able to make public policy.  

Q: What is one thing that everyone should do when they visit Las Vegas? My district includes the fabulous Strip, the exciting arts district and the hip downtown. So I would say, when you get off the plane, take a picture in front of the iconic welcome sign, and then just travel the strip all the way. That shows you the old and the new, and it’s all very exciting.  

And you might want to take a picture with Liberace right outside our door here [in the Cannon office building]; you’d be surprised how many people do!  

A cutout of Liberace graces the corridor outside's Titus' Cannon office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
A cutout of Liberace graces the corridor outside’s Titus’ Cannon office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Q: What is your favorite pastime? Well, traveling with my husband. He’s a Latin American historian, and he teaches abroad a lot. Traveling is good, but when I can’t travel, on the weekends I usually go to the movies with my mother and sister. We don’t really care what the critics say, we find some movie to go watch and enjoy.  

Follow-up: Where is your favorite place to travel to? Well, I’m Greek by background, so I love Greece. France, Spain and probably Argentina. Those would be my four countries.  

Q: Is there anything I should have asked you about? Well you didn’t ask me about my career as a tap dancer! When I was little I wanted to grow up to be Ann Miller, but instead I grew up to be more like [the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards.] I always liked tap dancing; I tap danced even when I was teaching at UNLV in a group called Solaris on campus. … I haven’t had time to do it much lately. There’s a lot of dancing in politics, I guess.  

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

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