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Meet Neda Semnani. She recently took over the Heard on the Hill beat for Roll Call.

She was nice enough to answer a few questions for us about her plans for HOH … and Emily Heil’s feet.

Photo Courtesy of Tom Williams

Q. You’re filling the shoes of a long line of journalists who started out at Heard on the Hill (Ed Henry, Emily Heil, Mary Ann Akers, Ben Pershing). Who is your HOH role model?

The lady who I will be turning to for advice every day as I get started: Emily Heil. Emily is all class. She’s not afraid to push Members and staffers and make them uncomfortable. When she burns them she does it with style and fairness. Let’s be serious, hers are some giant shoes to fill. … Figuratively speaking of course.

Let the record show: Emily Heil does not actually have large feet.

My other role model is now, always, and forever Rosalind Russell’s Hildy Johnson.  

Q. Lifelong DC resident that you are and in-the-know gossip savant, where do you go to get your news?

Outside of work, I get my news from the Twitters. I follow all the major news outlets, journalists, lawmakers, and congressional committees. I guess you could say, because of Twitter I have the Greatest News Feed That Ever Was.

I also listen to public radio all day and “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” on the weekends. I am currently locked in a battle of wills with my postman to finish one week’s New Yorker before he delivers the next one. On Sundays I read the Washington Post and sometimes the New York Times when I am feeling rich.

Obviously, my go to source is our newsroom. CQ Roll Callers email incessantly and without pause throughout the day and night. Because of my colleagues and a steady diet of C-SPAN, I am the most boring guest you can invite to any party.

Q. iPhone, BlackBerry or Droid?

Full disclosure: I hate technology. I have a boring phone that makes phone calls, sometimes receives them and often it lets me exchange text messages with other people. I use my work BlackBerry for email. One day I hope to get a Droid, but I probably won’t.

Q. We saw Scott Montgomery’s note that you’re the first HOH columnist to have attended the London School of Economics.  Would you say this is an asset or liability?

Asset. If it wasn’t for the LSE I wouldn’t be able to drink vast quantities of red wine, have the support network I do, or be able to analyze news and policy with a certain amount of speed and accuracy.

Also, I love eccentric people and absurd situations and England is full of them. Most English people I know are quick witted, dry humored and utterly absurd. These are three of my absolute favorite things.

Q. You have a night in the town in DC. Where are you going, and which Member of Congress or Senator would you bring with you?

Ok. New funniest congressman is Rob Woodall, R-Ga. He made me laugh and laugh a couple weeks ago. Jared Polis, D-Co., brought a School House Rock poster to the floor and Woodall borrowed it and killed with an off-the-cuff joke. I loved the whole thing. So, as the winner of that impromptu witty-off, Woodall can come to the Rock ‘n Roll Spelling Buzz at the Rock ‘n Roll Hotel and buy me many beers.

Next time, Polis. Next time.

My most perfect Sunday, however, would be spending the day following Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., around the DuPont Circle Farmers market. They would be shopping for a Sunday dinner — steamed crabs and sweet corn perhaps? Fresh bread and artisan cheeses. The three of us would cook and serve a lovely picnic dinner to all our Capitol Hill besties. Then we would beat Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., in Scrabble, but they would beat us in Pictionary. Then we would play Congressional flash light tag.

Q. What’s your prediction for Heard on the Hill one year from now?

Here’s the thing about HOH now: We essentially have two amazing newsrooms at our disposal. Between all our reporters and editors, the institutional knowledge, sources, and wit in this building is staggering. I plan on making like a parasite and sucking both newsrooms dry of all their news and all their funny.

In a year Heard on the Hill will still be where people go for fun, tart bites of news. Not mean pot shots, because who cares about being mean for the sake of being mean? Smart and biting is what sets us apart.

With HOH we get to write about this world as it actually is and not as it is spun. I want people to read us and look at this city — my city — with all of its out-sized characters and say: Holy hell, I love this town.

When next year rolls around I just hope I’ve done the column justice.

Q. Who’s the better source for Hill gossip–the staffers or Members themselves?

Members. Hands down. They are deeply in love with the talking. And — I say this with all due respect — it is awful fun to watch staffers die a bit inside when their bosses say something they shouldn’t.

Q. Pose a question here that we haven’t and answer it yourself.

I ask this of myself: Why do Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wear black pumas pretty much on the daily?

Answer: To make sure I’m paying attention.