April 22, 2008

Ray LaHood to discuss his career in politics

by Pete Rosenbery

Ray Picture

CARBONDALE, Ill. — U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood next week will discuss his career in politics during a lecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is presenting, "Ray LaHood: A Champion of Civility in the Polarized Politics of Today," at 7 p.m., Monday, April 28. The lecture is in Ballroom B of the Student Center. Admission is free, and institute officials encourage the public to attend.

LaHood, a Republican from Peoria, is serving his seventh term representing Illinois' 18th congressional district. The district covers all or parts of 20 counties in central and western Illinois, including Peoria and Springfield.

Mike Lawrence, institute director said, "We are delighted to host this highly respected congressman who has championed civility and bipartisanship — two ingredients that are often missing in the polarized politics of today."

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist David Broder also lauds LaHood's abilities to get past partisan lines, according to the public policy institute.

"He takes care of his constituent duties, he carries more than his share of the legislative workload, and — most important — he cultivates the kind of personal relationships that build trust across partisan and ideological lines," Broder said. "In this era of polarized politics, fewer and fewer members of the House fit that description."

While at SIUC, LaHood will have a small luncheon with students and visit a class on Monday. He also will visit Lawrence's "American Politics and the Mass Media" class on Tuesday.

First elected in 1994, LaHood is the former chief of staff to U.S. House Minority Leader Robert Michel. LaHood announced in July he is not seeking re-election this fall. He also served in the Illinois House of Representatives and is a former junior high school social studies teacher. LaHood earned his bachelor's degree in education and sociology from Bradley University in 1971.

For more information, contact institute assistant director Matthew C. Baughman at 618/453-4009 or 618/201-0082, or visit www.paulsimoninstitute.siuc.edu.