Congressman Doc Hastings Twenty Years of Turmoil chronicles the life and ten-term congressional career of Richard “Doc” Hastings from his election in 1994 to his decision not to seek re-election in 2014. He served at a time when both the nation and Congress faced domestic and international challenges and a level of political polarization unparalleled in modern times. These divides were the result of many factors, but were compounded by major events that included the 1994 “Republican Revolution,” the Clinton impeachment, 9/11, the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, congressional ethics investigations, the Great Recession, Obamacare, the 2012 fiscal cliff, multiple budget crises and government shutdowns. All are described in the book.

A small-town businessman turned elected representative, Doc Hastings represented his conservative Central Washington district for twenty years. A quiet insider and Republican loyalist, Doc preferred to work behind the scenes as a member of the House Rules, Budget, and the Republican Steering Committee to help shape legislation and public policy to conform to his personal values and conservative political beliefs.

As chairman of the House Ethics Committee he led several high-profile investigations during one of the most contentious periods in recent congressional history. As chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, he influenced public policy on the environment, energy development, natural resources, and water issues.

Closer to home, he used his influence to create the nuclear cleanup caucus in Congress and insure funding for the Hanford nuclear site, protect the Columbia and Snake River dams, and support water storage solutions for the Yakima River Basin. Because Hastings was rarely in the national spotlight, his detractors often underestimated his accomplishments, but his constituents returned him to office nine times by an average margin of victory of sixty-three percent.

Part biography, part history, and part commentary, Doc is based on the author’s personal interviews and correspondence with more than one hundred different sources, including current and former members of Congress, other elected officials, friends, staff, and associates. It is a “must read” for political junkies and those interested in gaining a better understanding of how our legislative process works.

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