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'The American people took me in' | Congress' barber hanging up his scissors after 51 years

Joe Quattrone is beloved on Capitol Hill. The 88-year-old barber has been cutting hair for lawmakers for over 51 years. This Friday, he will be retiring.

WASHINGTON — On Capitol Hill, it’s hard to find something that everyone can agree on. But down on the basement floor of the Rayburn House Office Building, there may be an exception. 

Joe Quattrone, an 88-year-old barber, has been cutting hair for some of the most powerful people in American history for over 51 years and is undoubtedly beloved by people on both sides of the political divide.

On Friday this Capitol Hill icon will be hanging up the scissors for good, as he enters his retirement. 

"I love my job," he said. "I love my clientele." 

Quattrone, who immigrated to the United States from Italy when he was young, has become a fixture in American politics, cutting hair for members of Congress, generals, cabinet members and even presidents. 

“We take care of the most powerful people here," he said. 

Credit: Ruth Morton
House Cuts, located in the basement floor of the Rayburn House Office Building

The list of famous clients is long and varied and spreads across the partisan spectrum. He's cut the hair of former presidents like President Gerald Ford and President George H. W. Bush. He even cut Ford's hair the day before he became president. 

Over the years, Quattrone has also cut the hair of many lawmakers, from Al Gore to Dick Cheney. When Congressman Steve Scalise was shot during a Congressional baseball practice in 2017, Quattrone jumped into action. 

"When he got shot," he said. "I went to the hospital and cut his hair all the time." 

Working with politicians has also taught Quattrone some valuable lessons on how to make it on Capitol Hill. 

“Keep your eyes and your ears open," he said. "And your mouth shut. Then you’ll be here so long as you want to be.”

Credit: Ruth Morton
Joe Quattrone cutting hair just days before his retirement

Quattrone said that the decision to retire is mostly due to some recent health issues. His wife also passed away last year after 65 years of marriage. 

“The good lord is saying it’s time for me to go," he said. 

Veronica Baugh, another House barber said that the barber shop will not be the same without Quattrone. 

“Joe Q - he’s the man...” she laughed. “Everyone who gets in his chair. He has a story to tell.” 

Quattrone's last day working will be on Friday, before he heads down to North Carolina to be with family. He said he's planning to get a part-time job as a barber because he loves the work so much. 

As he looks back on his career, this seasoned Capitol Hill icon said he’s filled with nothing but gratitude.

“The American people took me in..." he said. "And I’ll treasure that as long as I live.”

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