There was a new face from Massachusetts at the official Congressional photo op featuring the incoming House leadership team. Katherine Clark won a contested race to be the Democrats’ Vice Chair and is now the second highest ranking woman behind likely next House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I am honored to be the first woman from Massachusetts to serve in leadership in the House,” Clark said.
From Massachusetts 5th District, Clark lists pre-existing conditions and gun violence as two issues she intends to prioritize in the upcoming legislative session. She has been one to watch ever since she got elected in 2013.
Her profile rose in 2016 when she and civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, staged a sit-in on the floor of the House chamber to demand that the Republican leadership allow votes on gun legislation.
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Stonehill College Dean Peter Ubertaccio says Clark is well liked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
“She’s certainly a progressive in good standing, but I think she recognizes as many leaders in the House have to, that in order to be successful, you are going to have to work with that large caucus,” Ubertaccio said.
Last year, Clark was named Vice Chair of Recruitment for the Democratic Congressional campaign committee. She went on to lead the Party’s red to blue initiative aimed at flipping seats in the midterm - resulting in the fourth largest midterm win in the last 50 years.
“We’ve just elected one of the most diverse new classes in our history in Congress," Clark said. "And it is all about making sure they all have a voice in setting our priorities.”
“I see Katherine Clark potentially as the next Speaker of the House from Massachusetts,” Ubertaccio said.
When you consider that Vice Chair Clark will now be working with Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal and Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern - it’s pretty clear that Massachusetts will play an oversized role in shaping the agenda on Capitol Hill in the years to come.