The former Member of Congress Sherwood Boehlert, whose mellifluous speaking voice and voracious reading of the classics gave voice to a moderate, pro-banking view of government, has died at the age of 84, a representative for Boehlert said on Friday.
He was the 11th Republican lawmaker to die of natural causes this year, after six died in 2017, two of them in Congress.
Boehlert was known best for the conservative stances he took on a number of controversial issues. He vehemently opposed immigration reform, vowing to oppose any bill that facilitated immigration. He’s a proponent of capital punishment.
But if he was most admired for the way he thought government should work, he was also known for his desire to see government less in the private sphere and more in the public.
In the wake of the financial crisis, he initiated a series of efforts aimed at reversing President George W. Bush’s decision to ease the restrictions on small banks.
“The whole thing just blew up on us,” he told the New York Times in 2011. “I think the federal government’s regulation of banking is one of the least efficient uses of the government’s time, and one of the most detrimental to the American people.”
During his stint in Congress, he had a contentious relationship with his party leadership. He was a supporter of President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings. He crossed the aisle from the Republican Party to be a member of the Democrat Party in 2009 and served out his term before seeking reelection to his House seat.