Republican Congressman Tom Latham is preparing for an “historic moment” later today, as his friend John Boehner is formally elected Speaker of the U.S. House.
The friendship between Latham and Boehner began in 1994, when the two worked on the “Contract with America” and in the years since then they’ve become best friends.
When they’re in Washington, the two men eat together most every night according to published reports. They’re both golfers, smokers and Midwesterners who saw their parents build a thriving business.
Boehner’s family ran a bar in Ohio; Latham’s father and twin brother started Latham Seeds in Alexander, Iowa.
“I guess the benefit for anyone in Iowa is the fact that I can have his ear, but that’s not why we’re friends,” Latham said this morning during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. “We just get along. Our families are very similar. Our backgrounds are similar and so we just seemed to hit it off and spent a lot of time together.”
Latham’s ability to keep his mouth shut may be the key to the enduring friendship. “It’s not something that I talk about,” Latham said. “It’s just something that’s evolved over time.”
Latham does not have a formal title within the new leadership structure in the U.S. House, but Latham is likely to be an informal advisor who can help Boehner keep tabs on what’s percolating among the 240 other Republicans in the House. However, Latham is reluctant to publicly discuss his role in Boehner’s inner circle.
“You know, my relationship with the speaker is on a personal level, a friendship level but, certainly, when there’s things that are going on I would bring to any speaker’s attention if I see something that’s happening,” Latham said. “It’s very important that we all communicate, that we have an open process and certainly I’ll try to do everything to make sure that we are successful in this next congress.”
The first order of business for the new Republican-led House will be a bill that repeals the health care reform plan President Obama signed into law last spring.
“You know, we’ll see what happens in the senate, but I think this is extremely important to folks. They understand that what is in place today is not going to work. It’s going to cost more. It’s going to raise their premiums,” Latham said. “It’s going to cause people to lose the insurance they currently have.”
Republicans have also promised to cut $100 billion from the federal budget. Tomorrow, Republicans plan to have the U.S. Constitution read aloud in the House.