Far from the crowded halls he once roamed as a congressman in Washington, D.C., David Monson has turned into an ice hockey fan and a little-league baseball coach.
He watches his two sons, age 17 and 9, play, and spends evenings at the Salt Palace watching the Golden Eagles play professional hockey."I'm not a big yeller, but I get excited when they do something good," Monson, normally soft spoken and contemplative, said during a recent interview in the Salt Lake office from which he manages a variety of business interests.
Newspapers were full of speculation in 1986 about the reasons why Monson decided not to run for a second term as the representative from Utah's second congressional district. After Monson dropped out, Republicans lost the seat to Democrat Wayne Owens.
Political pundits speculated that Monson was forced to drop out by leaders in his own party. Those theories were fueled later that year when former state GOP Chairman Larry Lunt said Monson was a weak candidate and that Republicans knew he would bebeaten by Owens.
But Monson said he is frustrated that few people understand why he gave up the race. Sure there were pressures within the party, but his reasons for quitting had to do with his family.
"I don't think any news account accurately portrayed the events that led to my decision," he said. "Circumstances added pressures, but the decision was made in the best interest of my family."
And, while he has been vocal in the past about his anger toward some Republicans, Monson said he has put those feelings behind him.
When he gave up his congressional seat, Monson said goodbye to 14 years of public service, including terms as state auditor and lieutenant governor. He said hello to more time with his growing family of five children.
"The life of a congressman wasn't exactly how I envisioned it," he said. "I was much more busy. I saw I wasn't spending adequate time with them (his children)."
Now he enjoys helping with homework and doing other things with his family.
"It was exciting while doing it," he said of his years in public life. "But after you get out you realize you have privacies you wouldn't have otherwise."
But Monson has not gained much spare time since returning to Utah. He is vice president of ICORP, a firm that helps U.S. companies sell goods overseas, particularly in the Far East where Monson gained a lot of contacts as a congressman.
He also heads two recycling companies, one in Utah and one in Colorado, and he is director of a small Utah company that manufactures bowling balls. In addition, he directs a charitable group known as the Utah Opportunities Industrial Center Inc., helping people acquire skills so they can get better jobs.
"There are different stresses," he said, comparing his current life to that of a congressman. "Now I have to meet payrolls. I can see a little better now why people get anxious having to deal with bureaucrats."
Monson has not ruled out a return to politics, although he hasn't been to a political meeting since he left office.
"I haven't divorced myself from the party," he said. "I anticipate my level of involvement will continue to increase. I try not to close any door in my life."