GOP taps 2 tea partiers for transition to power

WASHINGTON (AP) — To help lead the GOP’s transition to power in the House, Republicans on Monday tapped two newly elected congressmen who drew tea party backing in their campaigns.

Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Tim Scott of South Carolina, who won endorsements by Sarah Palin and support from tea party activists, are part of a 22-member team charged with crafting new rules and smoothing the GOP’s shift from minority to majority.

The team, led by Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon and headquartered in the basement of the Capitol, was to gather over Chinese food Monday evening in Republican leader John Boehner’s office suite and meet again Tuesday.

The team includes several seasoned veterans and influential members: 15-term Rep. David Dreier of California, in line for his second stint as head of the powerful Rules Committee; Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, in line to head the Budget Committee; and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, the campaign committee chief.

Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington, one of a large crop of GOP lawmakers who came to Congress 16 years ago, the last time Republicans gained control of the House, is part of the group.

Two other freshmen, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Martha Roby of Alabama, are also on the roster.

Walden said he didn’t choose the team based on whether they had tea party backing, telling reporters last week that he wasn’t sure whether those he was recruiting were supported by the conservative-libertarian movement. “It’s a nice cross-section of our Republican conference,” he said of the group.

But it’s clear Republicans are aware that the grass-roots movement that helped propel them to big wins in last week’s elections will be an important part of their new House majority and bolstered Senate minority.

In a nod to the new blood, Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., in line to be speaker and majority leader, told freshmen they would get “a larger voice” on major decisions next year. In a letter to the newly elected members, they said the class would get two posts — instead of the customary one — on the influential panel that hands out committee assignments, as well as a representative in the ranks of the House leadership.

The first-termers comprise “no ordinary freshman class, and this is no ordinary time for our nation,” Boehner and Cantor wrote.

Many of the newly elected Republicans are political novices, including a pizzeria owner and a gospel-singing farmer. All four first-termers on the transition team have some degree of experience in elected office; Scott and Gardner have been state legislators while Roby has served as a city councilwoman and Kinzinger on a county board.

Freshmen arrive on Capitol Hill for orientation next week, when Republicans and Democrats will also elect leaders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Madeleine-Tector/1346178094 Madeleine Tector

    I don’t think its a great idea to put poeple in office because of their color, most African Americans don’t vote Republican anyway. Anytime color is a factor it never works. If you want an example of not ready for Prime time just look at Obama, he has ruined this country along with the scavengers , the UN. Look a the black caucus, they are a left wing bunch of communists ho admire Castro, Maxine waters up on cuppruption charges, that (can’t remember her first name) Jackson Lee in trouble for voter fraud Charlie Rangel for Corruption and Conyers wife up in jail or on her way, I think she has already been sentenced. Now we have the new great hope, Alan West, who can’t wait to join the caucus and he is already being touted as the next president,we dont’ know anything about him yet, whats wrong with us? Now if I sound racist please forget it, there are blacks in my family and I’m half Dominican, I am thinking of the Republicans who finally got back in but I doubt they will last long at the rate they are going. Someone has to speak up about this crap, this is not a racial equality program, it is our Government and enough bad mistakes have been made in the name of color and integration , if they are good and work their way up , fine but that is not the case. Bring back JC Watts, he was good enough to refuse to join the black caucus and he stepped down and out of politics, our loss.

    • MerryJ1

      I don’t see where race is a factor in putting 4 freshmen on the panel, especially when 3 are White and one Black, 3 are men and one a woman, and all four have some elective-office experience. That experience seems to be the common denominator — it’s not an ‘affirmative action’ move, it’s a smart one.

      I don’t know why Col. Alan West wants to join the CBC, but I think it’s more likely he intends to be a moderating voice there, than an echo or rubber stamp. His military record suggests well-honed leadership skills and a man of strong character and uncompromising principle.

  • krjohnson

    I always love it when my congressman, Doc Hastings, is mentioned in the national news. Not that I agree with him 100% but he does make those of us in Eastern Washington proud more often than not!

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