Heard on the Hill

Take Five: David Kustoff

Tennessee Republican saves time and money by not eating all day

Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff tells his constituents about how hardworking Capitol Hill staffers are. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. David Kustoff, 51, a Tennessee Republican, talks about eating only once a day, how he’s proud of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and his morning routine.

Q: What has surprised you so far in Congress?

A: I didn’t expect to find so many really bright people like I found — not only members of Congress, but the staff. My staff, other members’ staff, committee staff — people are smart and they work hard. When I go home, I do try to relay that to people. People have a perception of Washington. Some of the perception’s right, but the people that work for them in government, they’re really working hard and they’re very smart folks.

[Take Five: Patrick McHenry]

Q: You have unique eating habits. Tell me about those.

A: I eat once a day. Dinner. Now, in the morning, sometimes I’ll have a little yogurt cup, but my meal is dinner. I find that I save a lot of time and a lot of money by only eating dinner. Sometimes, of course, part of our life, we have a lot of dinner functions, so that makes it easy. But I’m as happy eating a rib eye steak as I am a bowl of cornflakes.

[Take Five: Roy Blunt]

Q: Tell me about your morning and evening routines.

A: I’m up early in the morning. I try to be in the office — this door opens at 6 — so I’m usually here by 6:15 in the morning, and I like to read as much as I can. Whatever legislatively is coming up for the day, I try to get ahead of the curve, read different newspapers for the day, just so I can go in with the knowledge and the information that I need to try and make the best decisions.

[Take Five: Jack Bergman]

Q: How did you become good friends with Mike Huckabee?

A: I served as his Tennessee leader for his 2016 presidential campaign, which didn’t go very far. But we’ve been friends, he’s been very good to me, helped me on my last race for Congress. I find him to just be a very honest and sincere and caring person. I was fortunate, he just started a new TV show … he’s now on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, TBN. They renovated a studio right outside of Nashville. So I got to be there for his first show, it started back in October.

I think the world of Gov. Huckabee. … I know he’s currently happy in his life and what he’s doing and very proud of his daughter. He’s proud of his daughter, and I’m proud of his daughter.

[Take Five: Cathy McMorris Rodgers]

Q: If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you want to be?

A: Probably home. I’ve got my wife, Roberta, and two children. They mean the world to me, and so when I’m back in the district, I try to spend time with them. My district is 15 counties, so it’s a real fine balance, if you will, of making sure that I’m out with the constituents and serving the constituents and also trying to balance that family time.

Quick hits

Last book read: Jon Meacham’s book about President George H.W. Bush, “Destiny and Power.”

Pet peeve: I prefer being punctual.

Cats or dogs: We have both. That’s a really hard question.

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead: President [Ronald] Reagan.

Closest friend across the aisle: I like Vicente Gonzalez from Texas.

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