View Full Version : Incoming House Republicans choose freshmen leaders

11-18-2010, 10:41 AM
By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 6:20 p.m.

Incoming House Republicans on Wednesday night tapped two of their fellow freshmen, Republican Reps.-elect Kristi Noem (S.D.) and Tim Scott (S.C.), to serve in newly created leadership positions in the 112th Congress.

Noem and Scott will serve as the freshman class liaisons to the House leadership. Both rising stars had announced bids for the position over the past few days and were considered the two most likely to win the spot.

"I am honored that my freshman class colleagues have put their trust in me to represent our historic class at the leadership table," Noem said in a statement. "The incoming freshman class of Representatives is large and diverse but we share many common goals including cutting wasteful spending, getting our economy back on track and making government smarter and more efficient."

"We didn't come here to become Washington, we came here to change Washington," she added.

Scott and Noem will add to the diversity of House Republicans' leadership team. Scott, along with Rep.-elect Allen West (R-Fla.), is one of the first two African American Republicans to be elected to Congress since former Rep. J.C. Watts (Okla.) retired in 2003. Noem, meanwhile, will join Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) to become the second woman to serve on the GOP's leadership team.

The incoming class also on Wednesday night selected Reps.-elect Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) to serve as the three freshman representatives to the Steering Committee, which decides on committee posts and chairmanships. Eight nominees were vying for the three spots, which were created by GOP leaders in an effort to give more incoming members a voice at the leadership table. Meehan narrowly edged out Rep.-elect Jaime Herrera (R-Wash.) in a runoff for the third spot.

Rep.-elect Austin Scott (R-Ga.) was elected the freshman class president and Rep.-elect Diane Black (R-Tenn.) was elected the class representative to the Policy Committee.

Austin Scott said that he was "certainly proud" to have been elected the class president and added that he hopes to contribute to Republicans' efforts to address voters' concerns about economic issues.

"We understand that jobs and the economy should be the focus of this Congress and that's what we intend to work on," he said.

By Felicia Sonmez | November 17, 2010; 6:30 PM ET