Regula Raps GOP for Not Working Across Aisle

Posted August 19, 2010 at 10:09am

LOUISVILLE, Ohio — It’s been nearly two years since former Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) cast his last Congressional vote, but the one-time Appropriations Committee cardinal hasn’t lost his moderate chops — or the urge to rile his more obstinate GOP colleagues.

Donning a sport coat and Member pin at Wednesday night’s Stark County Republican Party barbecue, the 85-year-old Regula jabbed his former colleagues for not working with House Democrats on health care, energy and other marquee legislation during the 111th Congress.

“I find the lack of bipartisanship very distressing,” Regula said as he waited in a buffet line with other local Republican faithful. “I came up in the Tip O’Neill era. I got along with everyone. That’s how you get things done,” he said, referring to former Speaker O’Neill (D-Mass.).

Regula retired in 2008, vacating a seat that was won last cycle by Rep. John Boccieri (D). The district is now being heavily targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee and former Wadsworth mayor and local businessman Jim Renacci (R) has a decent chance of beating Boccieri on Election Day.

During his 36 years in Congress, the former Republican Main Street Partnership co-chairman was a predictable centrist counterpoint to his conference’s more conservative ranks, which now dominate the minority party. The ex-Buckeye State lawmaker lost a long, tense campaign earlier this decade for the top GOP spot on the Appropriations panel. The job ultimately went to the more conservative Rep. Jerry Lewis (Calif.), whose victory undoubtedly prompted Regula’s premature exit.

Now a cattle farmer and consultant with Dawson & Associates, Regula continued to poke the GOP party leadership at the midweek confab. While endorsing Renacci, Regula lauded the GOP’s No. 1 political target, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), particularly for her recent blessing of the Ralph Regula Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Canton, Ohio. In June 2009, Pelosi took to the House floor to commemorate the building’s naming after the former lawmaker, whom she said is always a “colleague in our hearts.”

“I don’t think Nancy would be voted the most personable in the district,” Regula said. But ” I like Nancy.”