Former Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb., started as president and CEO of the Asia Foundation in 2004, soon after he departed from Congress. Now Bereuter will step down from that position at the nongovernmental organization in September.
He's not sure what he'll do next, saying only that he's weighing a few options. Bereuter says he and his wife will in the near term continue to split their time between the Bay Area in California and their home state of Nebraska.
Former members of Congress often have a lot of options, such as lobbying or university posts. But Bereuter has no doubt he made the right decision to head the Asia Foundation.
"I was very interested in international issues and international financial institutions ... so it was a good choice, and I don't regret it in the slightest," he says.
Bereuter had a special interest in Asia when he served in the House: He chaired the House International Relations Asia Pacific Subcommittee, and he was a strong backer of granting permanent normal trade-relations status to China during an intense debate in the late 1990s.
Bereuter feels like he left Congress at the right time. He misses his colleagues and staff, and even the Congressional Research Service. "I used it extensively, and I missed it initially and still do," he says.
He adds that, "I miss the bond of trust that I think I established with my constituents."
His involvement with Asia in Congress and the foundation enabled him to travel far and wide in the region. Did he ever think that's what he'd end up doing while growing up in rural Nebraska? "No, I certainly didn't. I grew up in a small community. But I was always very interested in the world and geography. And my father gave me a subscription to Time magazine when I was about 10," he says.
His interest in geography led him into becoming a city planner, which eventually led him to a position at HUD in the mid-1960s. Bereuter was elected to the House in 1978 and served for 26 years.
This article appears in the May 22, 2010, edition of NJ Daily.