Former Rep. Steven LaTourette feels the same way about Congress right now as many people do: It's a slow-moving, ineffective, partisan body that has become dominated by a refusal to compromise.
"I couldn't see things getting accomplished in positive ways," the Republican said. "We used to solve problems like student loans and transportation and the farm bill."
When he retired at the end of the 112th Congress after representing his home state of Ohio for nine terms, LaTourette said he was looking forward to going back and doing something positive with his life, "as opposed to the last 18 years."
LaTourette sounded chipper and at ease as he described his work at McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies, the lobbying firm where he serves as president (his wife, Jennifer, is the company's vice president). The firm is the Washington arm of the Ohio-based law firm McDonald Hopkins LLC, which has been in operation for more than 80 years. LaTourette said his clients run the gamut from transportation to defense companies.
Because of a rule that prohibits House members from lobbying for a year after leaving office, LaTourette says most of the work he's been doing since leaving Congress is "consulting and advising," and that he has focused on attracting new clients to the company. LaTourette says that since the firm began operations, they have doubled in size, with an initial staff of four increasing to eight in just six months.
"I have not looked back, I have no regrets," he said. "The hours are better, stress levels are lower, and I don't need 218 other people to agree with me in order to do something."
"My wife and I, we have two young children so there is no free time. I'm still busy, but it's a good busy. I get the chance to go to ballet recitals and swim meets, things I didn't get to go to as much before."
LaTourette also said that he maintains friendships with many of the people he served with in Congress.
"Life is good," he concluded. "I miss Congress like I miss an abscessed tooth."
Where Are They Now is a National Journal Daily series that catches up with lawmakers who left office in January to find out what they are doing. It will run throughout August.