By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~
John Boehner, former politician and House Speaker, has taken on a new task by becoming a director at the Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) tobacco company.
Boehner said in an interview with POLITICO that he was having trouble adjusting to the retired life and claimed he’s been doing “a lot of laundry” since he left Congress. He also said he has spent too much time ironing and vacuuming his floors. He hopes the new position might put some movement back into his life.
“It’s weird,” Boehner said. “No job, no office, hardly any staff. I’m used to going all the time. Then you’re not going all the time.”
Boehner was the nation’s highest-ranking smoker before he left. While he was in office, some of his favorite indulgences including cigarettes, merlot and golf, and he doesn’t plan on those changing those anytime soon.
His decision to become director at RAI comes almost a year after he decided to step down as House Speaker after four years in office. RAI said that Boehner will join the board immediately and serve on its Corporate Governance, Nominating, and Sustainability Committee. RAI has also promised to increase Boehner’s salary of $174,000 that he made as House Speaker when he joins the board.
“RAI is striving to transform the tobacco industry through innovative strategies that include speeding the decline in tobacco use among young people and reducing harm caused by smoking,” a spokesman for Boehner said. “These are objectives Speaker Boehner supports and looks forward to helping RAI advance through his service on the board.”
The company produces both Camel and Newport products, which Boehner was known to smoke. Sources say that Boehner smoked so much that his office had to be fumigated to get rid of the scent of stale cigarettes when he left. His replacement for House Speaker, Paul Ryan, even told The New York Times that he would try and sit as far away from Boehner as possible during meetings.
“I just hate getting that smell in my clothes,” Ryan said.
Since Boehner’s departure, Ryan has repainted his office and replaced its carpet and upholstery in order to get rid of the cigarette smoke’s smell.
“You know when you ever go to a hotel room or get a rental car that has been smoked in? That’s what it smells like,” Ryan said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also commented on his smoking, saying he missed Boehner at work but did not miss his cigarette smoke at all.
“You could walk out here in the hall and close your eyes, and you knew where to walk towards the odor emanating from the former Speaker’s office,” McConnell said.
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