Sarah LaTourette: Like father, like daughter

Dave Ghose
Sarah LaTourette

Sarah LaTourette enters the family business.

Sarah LaTourette could have been a prima donna. The daughter of the late Congressman Steve LaTourette is political royalty in her native northeast Ohio. But the freshman state rep from Chesterland didn't put on airs when she arrived in Columbus in 2015, impressing Statehouse insiders with her humility, work ethic and curiosity. "She understands the legislative process," says a respondent, "understands what you have to do to get things done, understands that it's not glamorous."

Her father, who died in August from pancreatic cancer, was a unique political animal. The moderate Republican with a biting sense of humor survived in the U.S. House of Representatives for 18 years, even though he represented one of the most competitive districts in the country. Though best known for his blunt talk, he also was a terrific listener. "Everybody's opinion matters, and he always took the time to listen to everybody," his daughter says. As a result, Sarah recalls how a trip to the grocery store could turn into a grueling endeavor, with shoppers talking the congressman's ear off. "It would take two hours to get through the darn store and out to the car," LaTourette recalls. "He really took the job that seriously."

LaTourette, 33, has a similar approach. "She knows what she doesn't know, and she knows what she wants to learn, and she will ask anybody about it," says a lobbyist. "That's a great trait in a young legislator." Certainly, her gender and her name have helped her rise. Party leaders want to appeal to centrist voters, so why not push a young moderate Republican woman with a familiar last name into the spotlight? Earlier this year, she was named assistant majority whip in the House, and her name was floated recently as a possible running mate for Jon Husted during his expected 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

But Statehouse insiders also say she deserves the attention she's getting. They describe her as "thoughtful," "easy to talk to" and "savvy beyond her years." Says a lobbyist: "She's got a chance to be a star."