Rep. Gary Arthur Myers (R-Pa.) is quitting Congress - giving up what so2014me people sacrifice a lifetime for - to go back to his old job as foreman in a Butler, Pa., steel plant.
This pay will drop from $57,500 annually to somewhere around $24,000, counting bonuses. He will exchange his business suits for work clothes. After this term, he will no longer have an office in the Long orth House Office building filled with pictures of himself and such politicians as form President Ford. Nor will he have nearly 475,000 constituents. Instead, Myers will boss 21 men near a blast furnace that sometimes heats up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Myers, 40, is turning in what seems a sure seat for what he feels is a better way of life.
"The amount of time it takes to do this job is just not compatible with how much time I want to spend with my family," he said.
"I've shaved more on commitments than most - I just tell people I won't leave the family that much for functions - but even so, I average 120 days a year back in the district."
In the next sentence he reduced "office-holding" to a "job" saying. "I don't have time to meet anybody other than the people I meet on this job. We feel like transients here. There is no community life here. We don't have a strong sense of belonging."
Other members of Congress have quit before, saying much the same as Myers.And now that he has announced his intentions, he says, many colleagues, in their weaker moments, tell him they are struggling with the same family problem. But there are those others who, as Myers says, "are too ambitious about staying here and will do all the chicken dinners and neglect the family."
Some, of course, look for ulterior motives in his explanation of leaving office for his family. "Some have already got me running for lieutenant governor along with Sen. [Richard S.] Schweickeer," Myers say with a smile. "But believe me this is it."
Then Myers started talking about his children, Michelle, 12, and Mark, 10. "I sat there one night and I realized tha Michelle would be half way through eighth grade by the time I finished this term and then half way through high school by the time I had another term . . . My wife's had to attend most all the school functions. I just wanted to know my kids before it was too late."
Myers said he hopes Butler, Pa., Little League coaches will be as enlightened as those in their Great Falls, Va., neighborhood. Michelle is a star pitcher on the mostly boys' team.
Myers, a self-described conservative who consistently votes against government spending, has attracted the votes of both Democrats and Republicans in his district.
In 1974, he defeated Myer incumbent Democrat Frank M. Clark, who this year came under federal grand jury investigation alleging bribery, false statements and income tax violations. Myers won by 12,000 votes in 1974 and in 1976 was re-elected by 24,000 votes.
Myers, whose remarks on political and personal issues could have been invented by a Hollywood seeking to depict a straight-arrow candidate of the little guy, say he thinks he will have struck a blow for the "citizen-politician" during his four years.
The son of an Armco Steel Corp. bricklayer, Myers got a degree in mechanical engineering, then returned to the mill. He had never run for anything when he suddenly one night decided politics should not be left to the politicians. He had no party backing when he ran against Clark - losing the first time in 1972.
"The people in my district have learned you don't have to be a handpicked candidate, or have any particular apprenticeship for this job. I myself had the wrong perspective of people in this position. I thought you had to be special people, schooled in a certain way, backed by special people. But there is no so-called super race to represent us."
For all those ambitious politicians who trekked through law school to make it, Myers' next remark must seem pure blasphemy. "My colleagues are not much different than those I worked with back home."
Today , Myers says he feels he has paved the way for other non-politicians. An insurance man, real estate salesman, school administrator - "people who would never have dreamed of it before" - are now interested in his seat.
Myers refused to be "spoon fed" positions and studied up on all the issues. "The problems I'll face in the mill will probably be far less complex and perhaps less interesting."
It is unlikely that he will mingle with the top brass of Armco - who have sought his help as a congressman. For Myers has the same limited ambition he had before he left the mill - to move "maybe three levels up to plant superintendent. I don't feel it necessary to do more than that."
For those who are having trouble making sense out of it all. Myers has no answer except to say, "Some might not think it's so great, but to me, it's quite a life."