Local Reps Split On New Term for Pelosi
Chicago-area congressmen are showing some splits as House Democrats prepare to decide tomorrow whether to keep long-time San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi as their leader, or dump her for Ohio's Tim Ryan.
By my count, Ryan now has backing from the Southwest Side's Dan Lipinski, and maybe from Naperville's Bill Foster. Definitely with Pelosi, according to them or their offices, are Chicagoans Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez and Mike Quigley; Evanston's Jan Schakowsky; and Rep.-elect Brad Schneider from the north suburbs.
I haven't been able to reach Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago or northwest suburban newcomer Raja Krishnamoorthi, but would be mildly surprised if either bucked a leader who is favored to retain her job and her ability to hand out plum committee assignments.
In a statement, Lipinski noted that his district, the kind of working-class area that once was at the core of the Democratic Party, resembles Ryan's, which stretches from Youngstown to Akron.
"Tim Ryan comes from a Rust Belt community that shares some similarities with my district and is very much like many of the districts Democrats need to win . . . With Tim as our leader, I believe that we can begin to rebuild some of the trust that we have lost.”
It's also fair to say that Lipinski, who is relatively conservative by Democratic standards, never has been a big Pelosi fan, having been one of seven Democrats to vote against her a few years ago.
But Foster is not known for making waves, and right now he's solidly undecided.
"It is clear that the Democratic Party needs some structural changes to represent all of America and to build a team that can win in 2018," he said in a statement. "So I'm taking the time to consider the proposals put forward by Leader Pelosi and Rep. Tim Ryan. We also need to make sure that the citizens of Illinois and Midwest are fully represented in our party.”
Quigley, who snagged a seat on the House Appropriations Committee with Pelosi's backing, apparently has not forgotten. "She is a proven champion for middle-class families and is ready to work with all members," he said in a statement.
Ditto Davis, who has a prized slot on the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee. "She's one of the hardest-working leaders ever," he told me. And yes, he added, she supported his bid to get on Ways & Means.
We'll see what happens. Ousting a leader is very difficult. But all of the old rules are questionable in the time of Donald Trump.
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