|By Wiering, Maria|
ON THE EDGE of the Ozarks in central
The Luetkemeyers and the
"He understands first-hand all of the day-to-day workings of a bank and finance,"
"No matter what he's doing, he's always mindful of how it's going to affect community banks, in
Rep. Luetkemeyer, 61, represents
As a businessman, Luetkemeyer wore several hats after graduating in 1974 with a degree in political science from
"Where I come from, it takes two or three jobs to make a living," he said. His father, he said, had four or five jobs, including banking, insurance and the family farm. When his father bought the bank, Rep. Luetkemeyer ran the insurance business, worked as a loan officer in the bank and later sat on the board. He also raised cattle and hogs in the early years of his marriage and is the fourth generation to own the family farm.
Immediately after his college graduation, however, before he assumed roles in his father's business- es, he worked for two years as a bank regulator for the state of
"Having been on both sides of the table, I can bring a little different perspective on the various issues that come before the committee," he said. "I have a broad background in financial services."
Of his many roles, fatherhood was the most important, he said. For that reason, he waited until the youngest of his three children was a senior in high school before running for state legislature. He viewed elected office as an extension of his community involvement and leadership in
In 1998, Luetkemeyer was elected to the
He did not seek re-election in 2004; instead, he ran for State Treasurer. He lost, but Gov.
The congressman was appointed to the Financial Services Committee during his second term in office. With his background, it's no surprise Luetkemeyer champions community banks.
"We still need the big guys to handle the high-level corporate financing that needs to go on, but when it comes to mom-andpop, small towns and suburbs, you need to have a local bank that understands the local needs and the local community," he said. "It's very important that we maintain both entities to be able to deliver those sorts of services."
Luetkemeyer was the primary sponsor of the regulatory relief-seeking CLEAR Relief Act, which he introduced in
Cook said the congressman has a "tremendous relationship" with
While Luetkemeyer's banking background is a useful foundation for his committee work, he says his colleagues' diverse perspectives are important.
"You have to have the common sense to understand how business operates," he said. "They can be no more successful than the local economy in which they're operating. That's what it's all about."
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