Former Ohio congressman Delbert Latta dies at 96

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Delbert Latta, a Republican and major legislative advocate of President Ronald Reagan’s economic policies, died Thursday at age 96.

Latta represented Ohio’s 5th Congressional District in the state’s northwest for 30 years, now represented by his son Bob Latta. A spokeswoman for Bob Latta, Allison Poulios, confirmed that Delbert “Del” Latta died at a nursing home in Bowling Green after an extended illness.

Latta, the top GOP member of the House Budget Committee before his retirement from Congress, was the author or co-sponsor of various pieces of federal legislation, including the 1981 Gramm-Latta budget bill and Gramm-Latta Omnibus Reconciliation bill. During the Watergate hearings, he was appointed to the Judiciary Committee.

He was born March 5, 1920, in Weston, Ohio, and attended Findlay College and then Ohio Northern University, where he received an undergraduate degree in government and a law degree. He served in the Ohio National Guard and the U.S. Army from 1938-1941 and in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1942-1943.

Latta was practicing law and teaching at Ohio Northern when he ran successfully for the Ohio Senate and served in that office from 1953 to 1958, when he won the 5th District seat. He served in Congress from 1959 until his retirement in 1989.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued a statement Thursday expressing his sadness over Latta’s death. DeWine said Latta was the senior Republican in the Ohio congressional delegation when DeWine was first elected to Congress.

“He was someone who knew how to get things done for the citizens of his northwest Ohio district and the American people,” said DeWine.

Latta is survived by his wife, Rose Mary, his son and a daughter, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were pending with the Deck-Hanneman Funeral Home in Bowling Green.