Former Congressman Returning From Africa, But Not To Run For Office

May 15, 2017

Former congressman Steve Driehaus tells WVXU he returns home next month after spending six years leading the Peace Corps' efforts in two African nations.

But Driehaus, in a phone interview Monday from Rabat, the capital of Morocco, says he has no plans to jump back into elective politics.

"I really enjoyed my time as an elected official, although I think that after serving in Congress, it was time for a break,'' says Driehaus, a Price Hill Democrat. "I don't know that I'm interested in running for office again."

Driehaus, after serving eight years in the Ohio House, was elected to Congress in 2008, defeating incumbent Republican Steve Chabot. Two years later Chabot returned and reclaimed the seat.

It wasn't long after that 2010 defeat that Driehaus went to work for the Peace Corps in Swaziland. His wife Lucienne and their three children moved overseas with him.

Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world, Driehaus says. After four years of leading the Peace Corps' efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Swaziland, he moved to Morocco, where he directed Peace Corps efforts to aid young people with life skills and HIV prevention.

Driehaus says he and his wife decided "it's time to come home." They plan to return by the end of June.

Their youngest child, a son, will be going to high school in the fall, although he said they haven't decided which one he will attend. His middle child, a daughter, has been in high school in Swaziland; while their oldest daughter is nearing graduation from Ohio University.

"We've been here as a family and it's just been wonderful to see the kids grow,'' Driehaus says. "It gives young people a different perspective on the world. It helps them appreciate poverty in a way that I think we often do not."

Driehaus says he wants to be involved in public policy issues, both domestic and foreign, but that doesn't necessarily mean running for office.

One thing he wants to do is form a foundation with other former Peace Corps officials to help young women in Swaziland who have survived the HIV epidemic to develop life skills and improve their standard of living.

"I do enjoy being in government; I do enjoy being involved in the machine that is government and the legislative process,'' Driehaus says. "So whether or not I will run again, I don't know. I'm not particularly interested in it. And I don't think my wife is very interested in me running for office."