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Take Five: Rep. Ralph Abraham

(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, Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., talks about his cats, flying for the Coast Guard and living in the country. Q. You were a veterinarian before you became a congressman. Do you have any pets and favorite animals? A. I do. I have two cats, Laverne and Shirley. I live in the middle of a cornfield out in the country and we get field mice. The cats keep the mice away. I used to have two Labradors. I love labs. They’re my favorite. But they died of old age and we miss them. Being in Congress, we can’t find the time to take care of a dog, which is a full-time job. So now we have cats.  

Q. You flew for the Coast Guard Auxiliary and are part of the Civil Air Patrol. How many hours have you logged in the air? A. I still fly when I can find the time. When I’m not working for the government, I fly. I’ve got over 3,000 hours. I flew the day before [this interview] and I’m going to fly this afternoon.  

Q. How does living in a small town compare to Washington, D.C.? A. I don’t even live in a small town. I live in the country. The closest town to us is Alto and it doesn’t even have a stop sign or stoplight. We’re very country people. The transition is striking as far as the difference of people. But we’re enjoying what we’re doing in D.C. I’ve met outstanding wonderful people on both sides of the aisle. We may not always agree on ideology, but we’ve got the nation’s best interests at heart.  

Q. What do you do to relax? A. Flying is about it. I’m also a medical doctor, so I’ll occasionally pop in to my former practice and see a couple of patients, keep my toes in the water if you will. I enjoy that.  

Q. Do you have any favorite books and movies? A. “The Aviators” by Winston Groom . That’s what I’m reading right now. It’s about the pioneers of flight.  I’m not a big moviegoer. I don’t get to go to the movies often. There’s no movie theater here. I’d have to drive 30 miles to get to one. If I had to pick a favorite movie, maybe “Forrest Gump.” [Editor’s Note: Groom wrote the novel “Forrest Gump.” ] It’s about overcoming obstacles and hope. It’s a great movie.  

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