Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Redlands Congressman Jerry Lewis bids farewell to 3 decades on Capitol Hill

Jerry Lewis

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Retiring Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) reflected on his long political career, which ends with him as Chairman Emeritus of the House Appropriations Committee.

He shares a name with a famous comedian but, on Capitol Hill, California Congressman Jerry Lewis is the big celebrity.

The longtime Republican lawmaker from Redlands is stepping down after more than three decades in Congress. Lewis looked back on his political career from his favorite spot in the Capitol: the elegant office of the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Lewis chaired the influential committee for two years. When he remodeled the chairman’s office, he replaced the carpet with blue and gold tiles. Lewis is a die-hard UCLA fan. His beloved dog is named Bruin. But Lewis said it was geography, not the design, that made this office special. It's right off the House floor.

"To the say the least,"  said Lewis, "it’s nicely situated for the chairman."

Lewis described Appropriations as the heart of the work Congress does. It’s close to his heart as well, and the reason he decided to return to Capitol Hill after a rough freshman term.