House GOP Makes Room for Freshmen in Leadership

Posted November 8, 2010 at 5:02pm

Updated: 6:31 p.m.

The top two House Republican leaders will announce on Tuesday that they will include a freshman in the leadership ranks, an unprecedented move made to accommodate the large class.

The spot will be an elected position, according to a letter that will be sent to Members-elect Tuesday morning from presumptive Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and expected Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.). They also plan to add a second seat on the Republican Steering Committee for the GOP freshman class, the letter says. In previous years, only one freshman was elected to serve on the steering panel.

“The incoming GOP freshman class for the 112th Congress is no ordinary freshman class, and this is no ordinary time for our nation,” the leaders wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Roll Call. “Accordingly, the incoming GOP freshman class will have a larger voice at the leadership table and on the Steering Committee than previous GOP freshman classes in previous Congresses.”

Rep.-elect Kristi Noem (S.D.), who beat Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, is interested in the leadership liaison position, according to a source familiar with the situation, and has been encouraged to seek it out.

Republicans are preparing to welcome more than 80 new Members next week, and the new positions will be voted on by the Conference on Nov. 17.

The creation of the positions is the latest in a series of overtures made by Republican leaders to the freshmen, many of whom were elected on an anti-establishment platform. Republicans announced Monday that the GOP transition team includes four incoming members: Cory Gardner (Colo.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Martha Roby (Ala.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.).