House Democrats Elect Aguilar Caucus Vice Chair, Allred Nabs Leadership Rep Post
WASHINGTON – House Democrats completed their second of two days of leadership election by elevating Rep. Pete Aguilar of California to the position of caucus vice chair.
The 148-82 vote, in which he prevailed over Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois, makes Aguilar the highest-ranking Latino on the Democrats’ leadership team.
It was also a case of the second time being the charm as he had run for the position two years ago, only to lose to Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts.
This time around Clark opted to run for assistant speaker instead of second term as vice chair. She won that race Wednesday, replacing outgoing Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, who is now headed over to the Senate.
In a statement posted to Twitter shortly after his victory, Aguilar said he was grateful for the trust his colleagues put in him to lead “during such a critical time for our caucus and our country.”
“I’m also grateful for the friendship of my colleague Rep. Robin Kelly, who will continue to be a trailblazer and respected leader in our caucus.”
Aguilar went on to say that his top priority as a member of the Democratic leadership team will be “to help unite our caucus to meet the most pressing needs of the communities we represent, including providing much-needed resources to help the American people navigate the coronavirus crisis.”
Kelly issued a statement of her own a short time later, congratulating Aguilar, and saying he offered a vision”that will unite our caucus to do the hard work that’s needed to build after the four failed years of the Trump Administration.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus endorsed Aguilar on Monday, as did the New Democrat Coalition, along with Rep. Tony Cárdenas of California, who is running for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair.
Cardenas and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York will face off in that contest the week of Nov. 30.
Rep. Colin Allred of Texas, narrowly won a three-way race for caucus leadership representative, a position reserved for members who have served five terms or less.
He was running against Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, and Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan.
The contest was the only real nail biter for the two days of leadership votes, requiring two ballots.
During the first vote, no one secured the support of the majority, with Allred leading with 46 votes, Crow coming in at 43 votes and Lawrence, with 42.
Under the rules guiding the election, Lawrence dropped out and a second vote was held. That one was won handily with Allred, who garnered 69 votes to Crow’s 58.
The caucus also voted by acclamation to elect four co-chairs to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
The three current co-chairs, Reps. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, Ted Lieu of California, and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, were all reelected.
Joining them in the 117th Congress is Rep. Joe Neguse, who is the youngest member of leadership in the current Congress. He made history in 2018 as he became Colorado’s first Black member in the chamber.
In his own Tweet, Neguse said “It is an incredible honor to be elected by my colleagues to serve as co-chair of the House.
“We face tremendous challenges as a country, but working together — with hope and perseverance — I am confident House Democrats will deliver for the people,” he said.
Rep. Dingell said after the vote that’s looking forward to serving alongside her co-chairs.
“We know that the House Democratic Caucus is strongest when we understand that we have diverse perspectives on issues and that we need to communicate our shared values in a strong and consistent manner so we do not allow others to define who we are,” she said. “We must continue the work we have begun to make health care accessible to all Americans, fight for higher paychecks by rebuilding America, and strengthen our democracy.
“But one lesson we all learned during this election is that we need to do a better job of talking to those who don’t always agree with us and not be afraid of uncomfortable conversations,” Dingell continued “President elect Joe Biden speaks to ‘Restoring the Soul of Our Nation’ and together we must restore trust in our institutions after a tumultuous four years.”
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