Ronald W. Lasch

Ronald W. Lasch started his 42-year House career as a Page in 1958. As manager of the Republican Cloakroom, he kept track of party positions and floor developments and became a trusted source of information for Members. In 1995, he was appointed as floor assistant to Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Featured Audio

Working with Members of Congress

Working with Members of Congress
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch provides insight on how he established working relationships with Members of Congress.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded June 24, 2013 Deed of Gift

Abstract & Transcript

In 1958, Ronald W. Lasch arrived in Washington, DC, as part of the Page program in the U.S. House of Representatives. He would leave the House more than four decades later, after a long career as an indispensable part of the House Republican Conference. In this series of interviews, Lasch describes his work experience on Capitol Hill, which began with his time as a Page and culminated with an appointment as floor assistant to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

From the Republican Cloakroom to the House Floor, Lasch played an essential role in the party’s day-to-day operations. In the cloakroom, he served as a resource on the House Rules, distributing information to Members on the voting schedule and the legislative process. As floor assistant, Lasch was involved in the daily battles waged between Democrats and Republicans in the 1980s and 1990s, and his recollections convey a firsthand account of the Republican Party’s 40 year struggle as the minority and its ascension to the majority in 1994. Throughout, Lasch provides insight into significant developments in the institutional history of the House, including the impact of new technology, changes in parliamentary procedure, and the dramatic transformation of the political culture of Washington, DC, during the final decades of the 20th century.

Biography

Ronald W. Lasch was born December 7, 1942, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Werner and Marietta Lasch. His family moved to Belvidere, New Jersey, and his parents owned and operated a restaurant nearby. Lasch began high school in New Jersey before his appointment as a House Page by Representative William B. Widnall of New Jersey in 1958. After graduating from the House Page School, he worked in Representative Widnall’s office while completing his college degree at George Washington University. In September 1963, he moved to a position as telephone clerk in the House Minority Cloakroom, and remained part of the House Republican staff for the next 37 years.

In 1968, Lasch became manager of the minority cloakroom, where he supervised the distribution of information to Republican Members. As a space for Member interaction, the cloakroom was ideally suited for Lasch to answer questions about party positions on pending legislation and other recent developments in the House.

He was named Minority Postmaster in 1976 and floor assistant in 1979. Lasch employed his considerable institutional knowledge to help Members accomplish their goals on the House Floor. Well-versed in the rules of the House as well as Republican legislative priorities, he possessed the ability to stand back and “view the floor” as a whole. This allowed him to identify potential obstacles to Republican initiatives and provide Members with updates on prospective legislation, the length of floor debates, and vote times.

Lasch’s role as a House Republican staffer steadily expanded over the course of his career, culminating in his work as floor assistant to Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995. In each position, he demonstrated knowledge of the legislative process, parliamentary procedure, and House traditions. He was also adept at understanding the personal side of lawmaking, forging relationships with Members from both sides of the aisle. Lasch retired in 2000, and currently resides in Fairfax, Virginia.

Audio

Voting Procedures Before Electronic Voting

Voting Procedures Before Electronic Voting
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch outlines voting procedures before the installment of the electronic voting system.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded June 24, 2013 Deed of Gift

"Regular Order Was the Day"

"Regular Order Was the Day"
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch details the steady flow of legislation through the House during the 1960s and 1970s.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded June 24, 2013 Deed of Gift

The Rules of the House

The Rules of the House
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch demonstrates the way the House Rules maintain order in debate.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded September 6, 2013 Deed of Gift

Electronic Voting and the Whip Operation

Electronic Voting and the Whip Operation
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch highlights the unanticipated changes that accompanied electronic voting.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded June 24, 2013 Deed of Gift

The Steiger Amendment

The Steiger Amendment
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch describes advocating for regular printing of the House precedents.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded April 25, 2013 Deed of Gift

A New Generation of Members

A New Generation of Members
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch remembers an influx of younger Members changing the House in the 1970s.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded June 24, 2013 Deed of Gift

Developing a Reputation in the House

Developing a Reputation in the House
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch discusses the way his knowledge of House procedures helped him on the House Floor.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded June 24, 2013 Deed of Gift

Member Relationships and Job Security

Member Relationships and Job Security
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch recalls the importance of earning a reputation in his line of work.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded September 6, 2013 Deed of Gift

Working with Members of Congress

Working with Members of Congress
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch provides insight on how he established working relationships with Members of Congress.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded June 24, 2013 Deed of Gift

Segregation in Washington, DC

Segregation in Washington, DC
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Ronald W. Lasch recalls the segregated city of Washington, DC, in 1958.
Ronald W. Lasch, Republican Floor Assistant and Minority Postmaster
Interview recorded April 25, 2013 Deed of Gift

Images & Artifacts

Ronald Lasch, 1965
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In one of his first jobs for the House, Ronald Lasch served as the minority telephone clerk in 1965.
"Minority Employees, U.S. House of Representatives" pamphlet, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Event in Statuary Hall
<i>Event in Statuary Hall</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_lasch_table.xml
Ronald Lasch, fourth from left, attended an event at the U.S. Capitol with The Honorable John McCain of Arizona (second from left) and other Members of Congress.
Image courtesy of Ron Lasch, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Giving a Tour
<i>Giving a Tour</i>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_lasch_tour.xml
Ronald Lasch, right, gave a tour of the U.S. Capitol building.
Image courtesy of Ron Lasch, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives