|Delbert Leroy “Del” Latta|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 5th district
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1989
|Preceded by||Cliff Clevenger|
|Succeeded by||Paul Gillmor|
March 5, 1920 |
|Spouse(s)||Rose Mary Kiene|
|Residence||Bowling Green, Ohio|
|Alma mater||Ohio Northern University|
|Religion||Churches of Christ|
Life and career
Latta was born in Weston, Ohio, the son of Bessie Viola (née Thompson) and Lester Leroy Latta. He attended public schools in North Baltimore, Ohio and entered college at Ohio Northern University. Latta served in the United States Army National Guard from 1938 to 1941 while attending Findlay College. In 1944, he set up his own private law firm in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Latta was a Republican member of the Ohio State Senate in 1953 to 1958. From 1959 to 1989 he served as a U.S. Representative from Ohio's 5th district. In 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1996 he served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Ohio.
A powerful member of the House during his tenure, Latta was rumored to be one of the last two or three names on President Richard Nixon's post-Spiro T. Agnew vice-presidential shortlist. Latta's close association with Nixon, even during the impeachment hearings, brought him national criticism; he was one of the few Republicans who stood with Nixon until the end. He remained popular in his district, however; after his initial run for the seat, he only faced one close contest, when he was held to 55 percent in 1982.
Latta was known for being very in tune with the happenings of his vast district, which stretched from the suburbs of Toledo to the outer fringes of the Cleveland area. He frequently visited many small towns to show his concern for constituents. This earned him great support and allowed him to stay in office for three decades.
Latta served as ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee from 1975 to his retirement in 1989. In 1981, he co-sponsored the Gramm-Latta Omnibus Reconciliation Bill which implemented President Ronald Reagan's economic program including an increase in military spending and some minor cuts in discretionary and entitlement spending. The law also mandated the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut).
After deciding not to seek another term in 1988, Latta endorsed his son, Bob, for the Republican nomination. However Bob was narrowly defeated by State Senate President Paul Gillmor, who went on to win the election in November. Gillmor died in 2007, and Bob Latta was elected to succeed him.
Latta is an active member of the Churches of Christ. He has spent most of his adult life with his wife, Rose Mary (Kiene), in Bowling Green.
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