Capitol & State

LaRocco returns to House to speak on 'Congress to Campus' program

Former Idaho Democratic Congressman Larry LaRocco was back in the U.S. House Wednesday to report on the civic education efforts of about 600 congressional alumni.

LaRocco, a former president of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, is the new co-chair of the "Congress to Campus" program, which sends bipartisan teams of former members to high schools and colleges across the U.S. and internationally.

The group has visited Boise State University for a three-day program of classes, one-on-one meetings with students and faculty, forums and other events.

In the group's annual report to Congress, LaRocco returned to the floor were he served from 1991-95. In the 2013-14 academic year, the group visited 20 U.S. colleges including the Naval Academy, Louisiana State, New York University and the University of Hawaii. The group also sent to delegations to the United Kingdom and piloted a new program that included members of the German Bundestag.

This year, LaRocco said, the Congress to Campus is trying out online seminars that "will reach hundreds of community college students throughout the country." Former members also participate in the "People to People" programs for K-12 students visiting Washington, D.C.

LaRocco was president of the group from 2000-2002. He also co-chaired a program that brings legislative fellows from North Africa to Washington for a month to learn about the U.S. government.

Other former Idaho members of the group include GOP Sen. Steve Symms and Democratic Reps. Richard Stallings and Walt Minnick. Former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, also a former senator and U.S. Interior secretary, has been honored as the group's Statesman of the Year.

A lobbyist since he left Congress, LaRocco attempted election comebacks in 2006 and 2008, losing both times to Republican Jim Risch, first for lieutenant governor, then for the U.S. Senate.