Nearly 30 years after earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Xavier, U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio is poised to take care of business. The U.S. House Republicans elected him majority leader, defeating Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, by a 122-109 vote. The 1977 graduate replaces indicted Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, making Boehner the No. 2 man in the House, second only to Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Boehner now oversees every piece of legislation that comes before the House.
It’s quite a coup for the Cincinnati native who hails from a family of 12 children raised in a blue-collar environment of Catholic schools and Democratic values. Boehner, who became a Republican after graduation, worked in his family’s pub as a boy and brought to Washington an understanding of the working man. Known for founding the Gang of Seven that crusaded against corrupt House banking practices in the 1990s, he also suffered defeat with then-Speaker Newt Gingrich when the party lost big in the 1998 elections. But he went back to work and has since been rewarded with powerful positions, first as chair of the education committee and now as majority leader.