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Take Five: Rep. John Katko

Katko, skating with the puck, keeps in rink shape. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Katko, skating with the puck, keeps in rink shape. (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. John Katko, R-N.Y., talks about playing in the beer leagues and his love of “Dumb & Dumber.”  

Q: You’re an avid hockey player, where does your love of hockey come from? A: Ever since I can remember, I’ve been playing hockey. I think my father took me skating for the first time when I was 3 years old, and I’ve been pretty much playing ever since. … I played in high school, and then college, and then the beer leagues after college, and then I took about five years off and then I came to Congress. They got me roped back into playing for the congressional hockey team .  

Q: I understand you and your wife are serious cyclists as well. Where are some of your favorite places to ride? A: We’ve done a number of “centuries,” which are 100 miles in a day. We do it for charity, and our favorite place on earth is called America’s most beautiful bike ride — it’s 100 miles around Lake Tahoe in Nevada and you take a little turn up into Squaw Valley and come back out and go around the entire lake — that is stunning. And that’s a hard ride, but that’s a great ride. And of course any ride back home in the Finger Lakes is great too, that’s for sure.  

Q: You’ve worked as a prosecutor in the United States and all over the world, do you ever miss the excitement of those high-profile cases? A: I definitely miss the thrill and the jazz of being in the courtroom, and trying to convince a jury of your case and all that. I love that. I love the battle. I love being in the arena. … But, I also really enjoy what I’m doing now and at least I get a totally new adventure, and my prosecutor skills are really helping me in this job for sure.  

Q: Did you ever have any particularly cool or interesting cases that you’re able to disclose? A: Well, I did a case in Puerto Rico. It started out with 19 defendants, ended up with nine that went to trial. It had eight homicides in the case, and the people weren’t just killed, they did something called re-killing down there. … They would stand over the bodies and reload their guns and shoot them all up again, and so the bodies were often really mutilated and very gory — very high tense, high stress. It was a death penalty-eligible case and one of the guys got convicted of eight homicides; he served eight consecutive life sentences, so yeah, that was a landmark case. It was one of the biggest cases in the Department of Justice nationwide at the time and I was only 34 years old, so talk about getting thrown into the fire.  

Q: Do you have a favorite movie? A: I’m afraid to tell you. I like comedy, I like to laugh. My job is stressful enough, so “Dumb & Dumber” is my favorite; I love laughing.


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