Moving from the heat of Washington to the furnace of Phoenix isn't as bad as it sounds, according to former Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz.
"We're in the monsoon season, but we can almost see the end of summer here," he said, quickly adding, "That doesn't mean much" in a state where the temperature averages 100 degrees in September.
Quayle, 36, has called America's hottest city home since 1996, and he now lives there full time with his wife and their 2-year-old daughter. After losing a close primary race last year in a redrawn district that pitted him against another first-term incumbent, GOP Rep. David Schweikert, Quayle says he started working this summer as a consultant in his home state. "Being in Congress and seeing how the system works from the inside really helped me with this kind of work," he notes.
In July, Quayle joined law firm Clark Hill as a senior director in the government and public-affairs group. "I'm based in Arizona, but I was in Washington for one week in July," and he says he will probably make monthly visits to the nation's capital.
"My wife likes me being home a lot more," he said. "And my daughter likes me being home…. It's been nice being busy while being at home."
Quayle is not a native of the Grand Canyon State, though he is the fourth generation in his family to locate there. He was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., just a few days after his father, Dan Quayle, won his first term in Congress in 1976. The family moved to Arizona in 1996 after then-Vice President Quayle considered a run for president but opted out due to health problems.
Ben Quayle made his first bid for Congress in 2010 after Republican Rep. John Shadegg retired. Quayle won a 10-candidate GOP primary in August and was swept into office in the tea-party wave in the fall.
Quayle says he decided to join Clark Hill because of the "entrepreneurial spirit" the firm champions. "There's not a lot of top-down pressure. All of us work cooperatively on most of the things going on in the office," he saiys.
He spend most of his time advising clients on legislation in the pipeline in Washington, and he finds following the action on Capitol Hill from a distance informative. "It's been interesting to watch the 113th," he said. "It's hard to get consensus on bigger issues when there are diametrically opposed views on how things should operate. I think there is a level of frustration among our clients toward Congress."
Quayle says he "wouldn't ever say never" to a future bid for political office. "I miss my friends who are still on the Hill, and not being involved directly in policymaking is something that I miss."
But for now, Quayle concludes, "Things are good. I know, because I'm exercising a lot more. That was the thing that was always cast by the wayside."
This article appears in the August 28, 2013 edition of NJ Daily.