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Heard on the Hill: The New Weight-Loss Plan

Roll Call reported last week that former Rep. Phil Hare (D-Ill.) lost 75 pounds and was able to give up all his high blood pressure and diabetes meds after losing his re-election bid in 2010.

With the pounds, he also lost the need to race back into politics. And he sounds — dare we say — happy.

Former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) shed more than 80 pounds after he resigned in 2007, raising the question: What is it about losing your job as an elected Illinois official that makes you shed “Biggest Loser”-size inches? 

“It’s not having to go to quite as many pork dinners and ice cream socials,” says Kitty Kurth, a Democratic political consultant based in Illinois.

“The Congressional lifestyle is not an inherently healthy lifestyle,” she says. Politics is stressful, demanding and perhaps a bit limiting. So, once Members have lost their seats, in some ways they’ve gained back their lives.

Other Members of the Illinois delegation who lost but probably won are former Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) who is now CEO of the Executives’ Club of Chicago. Former Rep. Marty Russo (D)? “He got richer,” Kurth tells us. And former Sen. Roland Burris (D)? Definitely lost, but never forgotten.

You’ve heard it here first: People, there is life after Congress. And it’s a healthier one to boot.

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