(CNN)The stately portraits of Rep. Darrell Issa and other past chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform no longer hang over the committee's main hearing room -- home to countless high-profile, televised sessions -- after its new chairman concluded he wanted a different look.
Issa's portrait removed from committee he chaired
The decision sparked speculation Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was trying to distance himself from the California Republican whose combative, headline-seeking style terrified witnesses and rubbed even some of his GOP colleagues the wrong way. Issa's approach is also markedly different from Chaffetz's milder, TV-friendly persona.
In their place, pictures of everyday Americans will be hung in an effort to remind lawmakers why they are there.
"I really felt strongly that in that committee room we should be inspired by the people we serve, not inspired by past committee chairmen," Chaffetz told CNN Thursday while at a Republican retreat in Pennsylvania.
Chaffetz said he and the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, plan to hang images about the postal service, coal miners, civil rights and the "golden spike" from his home state of Utah.
Issa's portrait, which only hung in the committee room for about two months, is now relegated to a small conference room. An aide said his presence will be felt regularly by everyone who works there.
Currently the white walls of the cavernous committee room are empty, except for several large television monitors.
Chaffetz was a subcommittee chairman when Issa ran the committee. He said he told Issa in advance of his decision about the portraits and Issa responded, "You're the chairman now."
In addition to removing the Issa's watchful eyes from the committee room, Chaffetz also replaced about 60% of the 60 employees who worked for Issa, according to a committee spokeswoman who described that sort of turnover as not uncommon.