Representative Katherine Clark will be sworn in as the U.S. House minority whip Tuesday, becoming the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House and the highest-ranking woman.
The Revere Democrat told GBH’s Morning Edition co-hosts Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel that she is looking forward to being part of a slightly younger and more diverse Democratic leadership.
“From the Democratic side, we are excited for the session ahead,” Clark said. “We have a historically diverse new members coming in. More women, LGBTQ, people of color, than ever before. And we are united in putting people over politics and making sure that we are continuing to fight for families, lowering their costs, creating great jobs, and working for safer communities.”
The former leaders — Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, were all in their 80s. Incoming Democratic House leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is 52, while Clark is 59 and third-ranking Democrat Rep. Pete Aguilar is 43.
That means they’ve spent their adulthood talking to their children about issues like gun violence and climate change, Clark said, and keenly aware of how unaffordable childcare and a lack of comprehensive parental leave can affect families.
“I think that we are representative of generational change,” she said. “We reflect America. When you have women like myself at the leadership table, the priorities change. When you have members that look like the people of our district, that elevates their voices. And that's the approach we're taking: Let's put the American people front and center.”
Abortion and reproductive rights will also be high on the Democrats’ list of priorities, she said, though she did not offer specifics.
“And we can already see that the GOP continues their chaotic reign, and we don't know what's going to happen with that," Clark said.
As whip, Clark’s job will be making sure her party has the necessary votes to pass bills that are priority for the party’s leadership.
Democrats lost their narrow House majority in November. Republicans are expected to elect California Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaker of the House Tuesday.
“We're going to do everything we can to find ways to work across the aisle," Clark said of working with Republicans. "But we're going to keep our focus on making sure that we not only look and reflect the American people, but that we are pushing their priorities here in Congress.”
Clark said she will be looking for opportunities to work with Republicans, but said the party’s priorities are not in line with hers.
“When I look at Kevin McCarthy, I see someone who has thrown away any sort of moral compass,” Clark said. “He is trying to get power for power's sake, not to be a good governor of what we need to do here in Congress to find solutions for people back home. And so it is not surprising to me that he also tolerates someone like George Santos, who has lied his way to Congress.”
“We have our work set out for us, but we are going to continue to fight for the American people to put their priorities first, to look for partners in that work,” she continued. “But we are also going to draw a line in the sand against the extremism that we're seeing from the GOP.”
Original story HERE.