WASHINGTON, DC – Following is a letter House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) sent today to Democratic colleagues regarding the upcoming leadership elections.
As I prepared for, and after I announced my intentions to seek election as Democratic Whip in the 112th Congress, I spent time talking to you and our colleagues about the best way for Democrats to move forward in the 112th Congress and how we could build a stronger, more resilient path back to the majority. We are a member-driven organization and I work hard to listen and respond to the needs and priorities of the Caucus. I heard several things from you over the course of those conversations.
First, you said it is important that the Democratic Leadership is representative of the diverse views, backgrounds and experiences of our membership. I have always found our diversity to be a strength which demands that we produce policy priorities and legislative approaches that better reflect the diversity of America, which we all believe are keys to success in the future. We must be able to connect and communicate with the significant African American, Latino and Asian American communities in this country, most especially in marginal districts. The road back to the majority runs largely through those these caucuses and the communities they represent.
I also heard from a significant number of members who desire to avoid a contest between Steny Hoyer and me for Whip and between John Larson and me for Caucus Chairman. But if everyone were to take a step back as some had suggested, Xavier Becerra would have been forced away from the Leadership table, a consequence that I felt would be harmful to our Caucus and our purpose.
Consequently, I respectfully solicit your support for the resolution of this matter that has been promulgated by Nancy Pelosi. It adds an elected Leadership position and maintains a Leadership structure that honors the diversity and fosters the unity of our Caucus.
Many of you may recall that I demonstrated in the 106th Congress that I would put the needs of the Caucus first. I offered and took a two-year leave from the Appropriations Committee in order to help the Caucus avoid a cumbersome and potentially embarrassing situation when we needed to make room for a new Democratic member.
Once again I am seeking to find a resolution that best meets the needs of the Democratic Caucus. To me, the best way to resolve this issue, maintain diversity in the leadership and cohesion in our Caucus is to pull up another chair to the leadership table with a substantive, well-defined portfolio that will contribute in a meaningful way to our important work and to regaining the majority. With your support of Nancy's proposal, I hope to continue to work towards building consensus within our Caucus and bridges to communities and constituents across the country.
I believe this resolution allows us to begin the journey back to a stronger and more resilient majority.
With kind regards, I remain
James E. Clyburn