Even though he left Congress in 2011, not much has changed for former Rep. Zack Space, D-Ohio. He still lives in the Buckeye State. He still regularly travels to Washington. He still works on the issues he was involved in when in office.
There’s one major difference, though. “I find what I do now very rewarding without having to deal with the hassles of asking all of my friends for money or dealing with politics and business as usual,” Space said with a laugh in a recent phone interview.
Since November of 2011, Space has worked as a principal for Vorys Advisors, a firm that provides government relations and strategic counsel to clients. Space works there as a lobbyist, in business development, and with clients involved in economic development — specifically those focused on oil and gas. Elected in the Democratic wave in 2006, he was swept from office in the Republican wave in 2010.
Energy and economic development were two focuses of Space’s work in Congress. During his time in office, he served on the Energy and Commerce Committee, with assignments on the subcommittees on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade; Communications and Technology; and Health.
More than anything, he’s passionately invested in Ohio's energy politics, which is involved in the Utica Shale play: a huge area covering multiple states and Canada with large quantities of natural gas.
“[The shale play] created an enormous opportunity for the region, not just in the way of immediate and direct benefits associated with natural gas and oil and wet gas drilling, but also it’s creating this potential for a robust downstream, kind of third wave of manufacturing. … That could create a very robust industry in and of itself, which will provide for lasting and sustainable economic benefits for the region,” he said.
Outside of his work with Vorys Advisors, Space’s time is still dominated by energy advocacy. He recently wrote an opinion piece for The Hill expressing his views on how important coal is to finding climate-change solutions. He is a director for Coal Blue, which, according to its website, is a largely Democratic organization “working to achieve a broad, bipartisan, and unwavering commitment to coal as a sustainable fuel.”
He is also still active within Ohio’s Democratic Party, though he’s unsure if he’d ever run for office again.
“You know, you never say never, but I just can’t see me doing it any time in the near future,” he said. “I feel like in some ways you can get more done in the private sector than you can in the public sector.”
To him, being free from Congress is “a much less stressful existence.” Though he misses his friends in Congress and the legislative process, he’s happy to have more time for his kids, himself and for fishing.
“There is a life after Congress, and it’s in many ways a better life.”
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