Congratulations and thank you for the work you have done to return us to a governing majority in the House. This is a time for celebration, and also a time to carefully consider how we will live up to our promise of being a Congress that works for the people. Our success will be shaped by who we choose to lead - this is why I am endorsing Katherine Clark to serve as Vice-Chair of our Caucus.
When I first met Katherine shortly after her election in December 2013, I was struck by her kindness, openness, and eagerness to learn from her colleagues. She immediately began working to build consensus and make real progress on issues like equity in public education, relief for those suffering from the opioid epidemic, the emerging threat of online violence and abuse, and gun violence in America. It was on this last issue that I first had the opportunity to work closely with Katherine and observe her leadership style firsthand.
In the wake of the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, in which a gunman killed 49 young people and wounded 53 others, the nation was yearning for leadership from its government – it would find none in its Congress. The only thing the Republican leadership could muster was a moment of silence.
If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have an obligation to do something about it. And that’s what Katherine did. Rather than sit back and accept that we were helpless in the minority, Katherine approached me with her conviction that we had to act. I agreed that we must do something dramatic, and the idea of a sit-in was formed. Katherine then approached several of our colleagues for their ideas and advice, we formulated a plan, and through our action, we ensured that the American people knew that they had representatives who would fight for them.
More recently, I have been impressed by Katherine’s leadership in recruiting and mentoring what has proven to be the most talented class of Congressional candidates in my memory. Over the last two years she has worked tirelessly to ensure that talented candidates across the country were empowered to run, that our colleagues enthusiastically supported them, and that, especially during the hard times, our new representatives-elect found a sympathetic ear, meaningful guidance, and the resources they needed to be successful.
I have no doubt that the qualities that Katherine has displayed since joining Congress are the same that she will bring to the position of Vice Chair. She will meaningfully engage with each member of our caucus, listen to our concerns, seek opportunities for Members to voice the unique needs of our districts, and ensure we have the resources to accomplish our goals on behalf of the American people. And she will be brave enough to cause a little good trouble along the way.
I enthusiastically endorse Katherine Clark for Caucus Vice Chair, and I hope you will join me.
Member of Congress