U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Bainbridge, now represents about 20 percent more of Trumbull County since redistricting this year. At the same time, his stock in Congress seems to have risen which could bode well for all of Trumbull County.
One reason for LaTourette's rise is that Mitt Romney is the de facto winner of the Republican nomination for president. Romney is considered the centrist GOP candidate in the primary, and LaTourette has not only fashioned himself a centrist but has lived the part.
As Bob Cusack of The Hill, a daily newspaper covering Congress, said in a recent blog, ''Centrists in the GOP don't often get their way, but Republicans like Reps. Charlie Bass (N.H.), Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Steven LaTourette (Ohio) are breathing easier now.''
LaTourette is also a close friend of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. Romney's win means Boehner is more likely to remain speaker, which leaves him in a good position to aid his friends, including LaTourette.
One of the ways LaTourette has gained the reputation of a centrist is his view that ''... you have to compromise to get things done.''
LaTourette gained national notoriety this year with his effort to pass a compromise budget bill. He and a handful of other ''centrists'' forced a vote on the House floor March 28 for a bill to reduce future federal budget deficits by more than $4 trillion with a formula that included two parts spending cuts and one part tax reform. However, Congress dug into party lines, and the proposal failed.
But the effort was noticed.
''There aren't many heroes in this soul-destroying process, but we found a tiny band of 38 - the 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans who voted for a bipartisan alternative ... most Republicans won't vote for and ... most Democrats won't support,'' USA Today wrote.
LaTourette's measure, cosponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee, included recommendations from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform chaired by former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson. A Chicago Tribune editorial rhetorically asks, ''Why was there so little support for Cooper-LaTourette?''
Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan group that calls for eliminating the federal deficit and balancing the federal budget, called the 38 Cooper-LaTourette supporters ''courageous.''
As LaTourette's clout has gained a bit in the past few months, it would be wise for more Trumbull County leaders to embrace the 18-year congressman's services so that he doesn't ignore this part of his district.