Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) is officially making a bid for the Democratic caucus vice chair position he announced in a statement to The Crypt -- assuming, of course, that it becomes vacant. The current vice chair, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Fla.), may become U.S. Trade Representative.
Meek and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) are now the only two to have officially announced. Reps. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) are waiting to make announcements of their decisions until Becerra has made his.
“Let me congratulate my colleague of six years, Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra for being considered by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as U.S. Trade Representative. I was honored to be chosen by Rep. Becerra to nominate him for Vice Chair before the Democratic caucus last month. Should he work within the administration, our colleague’s leadership presence will still be felt on Capitol Hill. Our potential loss is the executive branch’s gain, but the American people will have retained the very finest of public servants to work on their behalf.
“Like many Americans, Rep. Becerra is being called upon to serve in an Obama Administration. Late last week, I contacted Rep. Becerra regarding my intentions, and he did not discourage me or any other Vice Chair candidate from seeking the office, though he remains our Vice Chair.
“In the event that Rep. Becerra should join the administration, I am offering myself as a candidate for Vice Chair.
“Nearly five years ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked that I help lead her 30-Something Working Group, as well as articulate our agenda by delivering the Democratic message on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and at events throughout the nation. For all of us, those were lonely days when Republicans controlled the House, Senate and White House, but we were instilled with a minority fighting spirit that we now retain in the majority.
“But always, before political party and ideology, we put the American people first, and though we govern as the majority, we legislate for the betterment of the nation.
“I hope to serve as one of the many leaders for our newer members of Congress. At the same time, I will continue to seek guidance from our Democratic leaders, committee chairs and subcommittee chairs that have the experience and knowledge to enact our legislative priorities in the years to come.
“I offer myself as our Vice Chair with a deep and abiding respect for this institution which we revere, and on behalf of the freshman members to the most senior-serving members who make our legislative body the place where we are afforded an opportunity to improve the course of our nation and the welfare of our citizens.
“As a strong ally to the seven caucuses within the Caucus as a whole, I will bring the range of our Democratic voices to the leadership table. We as a Caucus are strongest when our diversity of opinions and backgrounds are harnessed into one cohesive message, which I look forward to delivering in the 111th Congress.”