Former Rep. Gilbert Gude (R-Md), who represented Montgomery County in Congress for a decade, was appointed yesterday director of the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service.
The appointment will keep Gude, who has just retired from Congress, on Capitol Hill, but in a nonpartisan capacity. He said this indicates that he has no plans to run for governor of Mayland or to otherwise remain active in politics.
Gude had been rumored as a possible Republic contender for governor in 1978. This objective would have required him to begin a campaign sometime this year.
"I can't case myself in concrete but my direction is in this institution (the Library of Congress) and not in politics," he said. Gude, 53, surprised many last year by announcing his intention to retire from Congress despite holding what was considered a safe seat.
There may be even more puzzlement about why a former congressman who helps direct his family's prospering florist business would want to become a library administrator who will have to answer congressmen's complaints and will take a cut in pay from $44,600 to $36,000.
"I just intuitively knew that this was right," Gude said yesterday, his first day in his new job, in recalling now he decided to move across the street from a job in the Capitol to one in Library of Congress. "The academic aspects of the Library and the Congressional Research Service appealed to me very much."
Gude said, he decided quickly and very quietly last fall to accept the position offered by Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin.
Gude said that because the law prevented a member of Congress from taking the CRS directorship during his term of office, the appointment and its announcement were delayed until after his term officially expired Sunday.
As director of the Congressional Research Service, one of seven departments in the Library, Gude will be heading a staff of more than 800 research specialist who last year received 291,000 requests for information from members of Congress.
"I had half a million constituents. Now, I have 535 members of Congress. "As a former member, I know the pressures they are under and the needs they have" for legislative research, Gude said.
He praised the Congressional Research Service as a tremendously competent organization" with a proud tradition of completely nonpartisan assistance to Congress that Gude stressed he intends to see fully, maintained.
For this reason, the ex-congressman said, it would be inappropriate for him, even though technically not barred by the Hatch Act prohibitions affecting most federal employees, to participate in any politicking or campaign fund-raising.
While not going so far as to rule out all possibility of a return to politics, Gude said his new post with the libraby "could be another carrer. That's the way I'm looking at it at the moment."
In announcing Gude's appointment, Dr. Boorstin called him "a man of nonpartisan vision, of sterling integrity and of civic imagination . . . I believe that Mr. Gude will provide strong leadership to the Service and will be a valuable adviser to me."
Gude is the first former congressman to head the Congressional Research Service. The directorship had not been permanently filled for about a year since the retirement of Lester Jayson.