Former Jacksonville Congressman Ray LaHood discusses his time in Washington and the direction of national politics in his new book “Seeking Bipartisanship”.
LaHood nearly became Speaker of the House, but the gavel went to now disgraced former Illinois Congressman Dennis Hastert. LaHood also considered moving his political career from Washington to Springfield.
“I thought about it very seriously, traveled around the state and actually raised a little money. Then I had a very serious conversation with Judy Baar Topinka. We decided that she would be the best candidate and I decided not to run,” says LaHood.
LaHood says bipartisanship is a lost art and believes a recent development in politics has played a significant role.
“Over the last several years about 40 Republicans were elected around the country under the banner of The Tea Party. They don’t believe in government, they vote no on everything and really don’t want to get things done. This is the crowd that shut down the government last year. There is about 40 in the House and no more than 10 in the Senate. They have the power to make Congress look pretty bad and dysfunctional.”
LaHood also says President Obama broke away from bipartisanship in his first term. Among the other highlights, LaHood looks back at a key moment in history, as he presided over President Clinton’s impeachment debate.
The book is available through Cambria Press.