LaTourette, a Proudly Moderate Republican, Dies at Age 62
Former Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette – who developed a reputation in Congress as a moderate and bipartisan force -- has died at age 62.
LaTourette served in Congress for 18 years, arriving as part of the Republican sweep and Newt Gingrich’s contract with America in 1994. But he was critical of the atmosphere of partisanship in Congress when he left in 2013. He joined a lobbying firm to advocate for moderate issues and was a supporter of infrastructure spending, Amtrak and congressional set-asides known as earmarks.
The Lake County Republican was actively campaigning as recently as March for Gov. John Kasich’s presidential effort.
He told WKSU then that compromise is a virtue that some members of the tea party faction of his own party don’t understand.
“You get some who just take this attitude that, ‘If I don’t get 100 percent of what I want, I’m going to take my ball and go home.” And that’s not the way the country was set up. That isn’t the way life is. And I don’t know how many people in the tea party are married but I’d like to meet the man or woman who gets 100 percent of their way at home every day. That just isn’t life.”
LaTourette said he understood the frustration of voters with Washington politics and the appeal of Donald Trump, but ...
“his mouth is writing checks that his actions will never be able to cash as president of the United States. ... He wouldn’t be king of the United States; he wouldn’t be the emperor of the United States. He’d still have to work within the constitutional structure that our framers set up with the house, with the Senate, with the public. And there’s nothing in his rhetoric of style that suggests that he’s prepared to do that.”
Democrats and Republicans remembered LaTourette as force of humor and balance.
Cleveland Congresswoman Marcia Fudge – who chaired the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week – said in a statement that LaTourette was a friend “whose wit, common-sense approach, and good nature have left a mark on our state and nation.”
Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said LaTourette was “always willing to reach across the aisle to do right by the working men and woman” of Ohio. And Republican Sen. Rob Portman said he was “an effective legislator who could find common ground with just about anyone.”
LaTourette grew up in Cleveland Heights and was a public defender then a Lake County prosecutor. His notable cases included prosecution of cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren, who murdered followers who disagreed with him. After he left Congress LaTourette was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In May of 2015, he filed a claim against the government saying it had failed to provide critical information to him about a lesion doctors discovered. He died at his home in McLean, Virginia, surrounded by his family.
LaTourette is survived by his wife Jennifer and six children, including Ohio state Rep. Sarah LaTourette.