Former Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette dies at age 62


CLEVELAND (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette, who served nine terms representing Ohio in Congress before retiring out of frustration with partisan gridlock, has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, his former chief of staff says.

Dino Disanto said LaTourette died Wednesday night at his home in McLean, Virginia, surrounded by his family. He was 62.

The moderate Republican was elected to Congress during the GOP wave in 1994 when the party seized control of the House after decades in the minority. LaTourette was a close confidant of former House Speaker John Boehner, who described the lawmaker on Thursday as “one of the most honest and loyal souls I ever had the privilege of knowing.”

“With his passing, I have lost a friend, and Ohio has lost a dedicated servant,” Boehner said in a statement.

LaTourette represented northeast Ohio’s 19th Congressional District and then the 14th Congressional District from 1995 to 2013. He was a Lake County prosecutor before his election to the House.

A member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, LaTourette was a supporter of infrastructure spending, Amtrak and congressional set-asides known as earmarks.

When he announced in 2012 that he would not seek re-election, he told reporters he was sick of the partisanship.

“It’s been my experience that compromise, cooperation, getting something done, is not rewarded,” LaTourette said.

Ohio Republicans remembered the congressman for his humor and bipartisanship.

“He was a proud son of Cleveland, a tough prosecutor and an effective legislator who could find common ground with just about anyone,” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said in a statement.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges said LaTourette was quite simply “one of a kind.”

“We need more people like Steve LaTourette in public service,” Borges said in a statement.

Gov. John Kasich said on social media that LaTourette’s family “can take great pride in the legacy he has left us.”

In May 2015, LaTourette filed a claim against the government over the treatment he received from his Capitol doctors, claiming they failed to pass along critical information about a lesion on his pancreas and the need for follow-up monitoring. The filing was the first step toward a lawsuit.

LaTourette received his medical care from Capitol physicians over his 18-year congressional career. In 2012, he went to the hospital with gastrointestinal pain, which was diagnosed as pancreatitis.

An MRI revealed a small lesion on his pancreas and the radiologist told a Capitol physician that follow-up imaging needed to be done in six months, according to LaTourette’s filing with the court. But LaTourette said he was never told of the MRI’s results or the need to get another.

When his pain returned in 2014, he saw private doctors and learned the mass had grown significantly and was cancerous.

LaTourette leaves behind his wife Jennifer and six children including Ohio state Rep. Sarah LaTourette.

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