Westmoreland’s biggest D.C. accomplishments were electoral

Retiring U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County said a piece of legislation that makes him proud was his proposal to mint a $1 coin commemorating the Columbus-based National Infantry Museum. Credit: National Infantry Foundation

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Retiring U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Coweta County said a piece of legislation that makes him proud was his proposal to mint a $1 coin commemorating the Columbus-based National Infantry Museum. Credit: National Infantry Foundation

Retiring U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, is often the first to admit he's got more of a political mind than a policy-oriented one.

Indeed, some of his biggest accomplishments on Capitol Hill have come from an extracurricular activity: working for the House GOP’s campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Westmoreland and a House colleague were tasked with helping recruit promising Republican candidates ahead of the 2010 midterm elections.

The effort paid off in a big way. The GOP swept control of the House that year, snagging 63 seats, routing Democrats’ control of the chamber and gaining a critical new lever with which to check President Barack Obama’s agenda.

A year later, Westmoreland was named to another position that would pay big dividends when he was put in charge of the group’s redistricting effort. He counseled state legislators who were redrawing congressional districts following the latest census about the best way to ensure GOP control for years to come.

The effort helped cement the GOP’s House majority, buffering the party from major losses in 2012 and creating an electoral cushion that many analysts say will keep the House in GOP hands until at least 2022.

Another major moment in the spotlight came years earlier, when Westmoreland and several Georgia colleagues helped lead a GOP protest on the House floor in 2008. The gambit was designed to bring attention to the then-Democratic majority’s unwillingness to vote on oil drilling legislation when gas prices were high.

It also built a precedent that many House Democrats cited in their protest over the lack of votes on gun control legislation last summer.

Westmoreland’s legislative work in recent years has been more behind the scenes as a member of the secretive House Intelligence Committee and a special panel investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya. He was particularly active in the cybersecurity arena, helping design a system in 2015 for the public and private sectors to share information on cyber threats.

Among the legislation he’s proudest of, Westmoreland mentioned a law requiring the government to study bank failures shortly after Georgia’s small lending institutions were struck particularly hard in the financial crisis. He’s been a sharp critic of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul passed in the aftermath of the meltdown.

Westmoreland also cited the minting of a $1 coin commemorating the Columbus-based National Infantry Museum.